Dec 7, 78 • 1202 • Georgetown-State • 4139

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE04139_d.html.]

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GEORGE 04139 071409Z
ACTION L-03
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 CA-01 JUSE-00 SCS-06 H-01 HA-05 ARA-11 SSO-00 /028 W
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O 071202Z DEC 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8359
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 4139

E.O. 12065: RDS 12/6/83 (FORTUNE, T) OR-M
TAGS: CASC, GY (PEOPLE’S TEMPLE)
SUBJ: FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR GUYANA EVACUATION
REF: STATE 306437

1. THE FOLLOWING RESPONDS TO THOSE QUESTIONS POSED IN REFTEL WHICH CAN BE ANSWERED AT THIS TIME. RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS REQUIRING EXAMINATION OF PT RECORDS OR INVOLVING ISSUES OF LOCAL LAW FOLLOWS SEPTEL. ANSWERS ARE KEYED TO CORRECTED PARAPRAPH NUMBERS IN REFTEL. (PLEASE NOTE PARAGRAPHS IN REFTEL ARE INCORRECTLY NUMBERED.)

2. PARA 2.A. THERE ARE TWO CORPORATE ENTITIES INVOLVED. THE “PEOPLES TEMPLE OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST CHURCH IN GUYANA” (CORPORATION #1) WAS CHARTERED BY ACT OF PARLIAMENT IN FEBRUARY, 1975. THE INCORPORATION ACT IMPOSES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED OBLIGATION ON THE CORPORATION TO CARE FOR THE NEEDS OF THE MEMBERS EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH AN OBLIGATION IS CONTAINED IN THE LAWS, REGULATIONS, PROCESSES AND PRACTICE OF THE “PARENT CHURCH”, THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. THESE LAWS ECT. ARE MADE APPLICABLE TO THE GUYANA CHURCH BY REFERENCE. CORPORATION &2, THE PEOPLES TEMPLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMPANY LIMITED WAS INCORPORATED UNDER THE COMPANIES ACT OF GUYANA ON JUNE 23, 1978. THE MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION LISTS AMONG

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THE OBJECTS OF THIS CORPORATION THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOLS AND THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF ILLNESS. THERE IS NO REFERENCE TO THE DISPOSITION OF REMAINS. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE TWO CORPORATIONS, AND THE FORMAL LINK, IF ANY, BETWEEN CORPORATION #2 AND THE CALIFORNIA CHURCH IS UNKNOWN. LAMAHA HOUSE, THE PT HEADQUARTERS IN GEORGETOWN, IS OWNED BY CORPORATION #1. THE OWNERSHIP OF OTHER PT PROPERTY IS UNCLEAR AT THIS TIME.

3. PARA 2.C. JONESTOWN CONTAINED A COMMUNITY SCHOOL, A HEALTH CARE FACILITY AND A CEMETERY OF SORTS IN WHICH 5 MEMBERS WERE BURIED. HEALTH CARE PROVIDED BY PHYSICIANS IN GEORGETOWN TO PT MEMBERS WAS PAID FOR BY PT. JONESTOWN WAS A “CASHLESS SOCIETY”, I.E., GOODS AND SERVICES WERE PROVIDED TO RESIDENTS WITHOUT SPECIFIC CHARGE.

3. PARA 3.A. THE ACT INCORPORATING CORPORATION #1 REFERS TO THE “PARENT CHURCH”, I.E., THE PEOPLES TEMPLE OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, CALIFORNIA AND INCORPORATES BY REFERENCE THE LAWS, REGULATIONS, PROCESSES AND PRACTICE OF THE PARENT CHURCH. THE MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATION #2 CONTAINS NO LINK TO PT, U.S.

4. PARA. 3.B. THE ACT INCORPORATING CORPORATION #1 NAMES THE FOLLOWING PERSONS AS OFFICERS OF THE PARENT CHURCH: JAMES JONES, PASTOR AND PRESIDENT; MARCELINE JONES, VICE PRESIDENT; TIMOTHEY STOEN, SECRETARY; AND JOYCE TOUCHETTE, TREASURER. THE ACT CONSITUTES THESE PERSONS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS AS THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF CORPORATION #1. THE INCORPORATORS AND INITIAL DIRECTORS OF CORPORATION #2 AND DEBBIE TOUCHETTE, PHILLIP BLAKEY, TOMMY JOHNSON, JAN WILSEY AND PAULA ADAMS.

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5. PARA. 3.B. THE INITIAL USG DECISION, TAKEN ON 20 NOVEMBER 1978, WAS TO REPATRIATE THE REMAINS (SEE RUEKJCS 2115). IT SOON BECAME APPARENT THE REPATRIATION INVOLVED SERIOUSDIFFICULTIES DUE TO THE RAPID DECOMPOSITION OF THE REMAINS. AFTER SEEKING AND RECEIVING THE ADVICE OF THE EMBASSY (STATE 294528, GEORGETOWN 3826), THE DEPARTMENT INSTRUCTED THE AMBASSADOR TO REQUEST THAT THE GOG PERMIT LOCAL BURIAL (STATE 294528). THE AMBASSADOR, INTERRUPTING A CABINET MEETING, CONVEYED THIS REQUEST TO MINISTER HAMILTON GREEN AT 2:15 ON NOVEMBER 21 (GEORGETOWN 3843). AT 5:15 THAT DAY AMBASSADOR RECEIVED A MESSAGE STATING THAT THE CABINET HAD DETERMINED THAT ALL BODIES SHOULD BE RETURNED TO U.S. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. REASON GIVEN WAS FEAR THAT LARGE NUMBERS OF NEXT OF KIN WOULD WISH TO VISIT GRAVESITE AND DISINTER REMAINS, THUS OVERTAXING GOG’S TARNSPORTATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCES IN THIS REMOTE AREA (GEORGETOWN 3845). GOG WAS ALSO CONCERNED REGARDING POSSIBLE CYANIDE CONTAMINATION. LOCAL INTERMENT ALSO INVOLVED STRONG LIKELIHOOD NOTED BY EMBASSY (GEORGETOWN 3826) THAT LARGE NUMBER OF BODIES WOULD NEVER BE IDENTIFIED. THIS COMBINATION OF FACTORS LEFT NO AVAILABLE COURSE OTHER THAN REPATRIATION.

6. PARA. 6 NO FORMAL INVENTORY OR ESTIMATE OF VALUE OF PT PROPERTY IN GUYANA HAS BEEN PREPARED. JIM WARD OF SCS DID A WALK-THROUGH APPRAISAL OF JONESTOWN PROPERTY WHICH CONSISTS PRINCIPALLY OF BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES, LIVESTOCK, AND STANDING CROPS. EMBASSY HAS REPORTED SEPTEL ON VALUE OF CHECKS IN CUSTODY OF EMBASSY PAYABLE TO PT. IT IS PROBABLE THAT BANK ACCOUNTS EXIST. DETERMINATION OF LOCATION AND WHEREABOUTS OF THESE AND OTHER ASSETS WILL REQUIRE COORDINATION WITH GOG.

7. SEVERAL PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN DOCUMENTS EVIDENCING INCORPORATION OF TWO PT CORPORATIONS BEAR ON ATTEMPT BY JUSTICE TO SATISFY US CLAIMS FROM PT ASSETS IN GUYANA. ACT OF INCORPORATION FOR CORPORATION #1 FORBIDS DISTRIBUTION OF

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CHURCH PROPERTY FOR BENEFIT OF ANY PERSON AND PROVIDES THAT UPON DISSOLUTION, PROPERTY OF CHURCH SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED TO PARENT (CALIFORNIA) CHURCH. MEMORANDUM OF INCORPORATION OF CORPORATION #2 PROHIBITS DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY TO MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION AND REQUIRES THAT, UPON DISSOLUTION, PROPERTY REMAINING AFTER PAYMENT OF DEBTS IS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO A GROUP HAVING SIMILAR OBJECTS OR, FAILING THAT, TO SOME CHARITABLE OBJECT. THESE PROVISIONS NECESSARILY WEAKEN ANY ATTEMPT TO ARGUE THAT TEMPLE PROPERTY IS IN FACT PROPERTY OF INDIVIDUAL DECEDENTS HELD IN COMMON.

BURKE

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Originally posted on March 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on December 26th, 2020.
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