Dec 7, 78 • 2037 • State-Georgetown • 308871 (State Department Press Briefing, 12/05/78)

[Editor’s notes: The full text of this text was taken from https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE308871_d.html.]

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STATE 308871
ORIGIN ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 IO-15 ISO-00 PA-02 ICAE-00 HA-05 SCS-06 CA-01 /045 R
DRAFTED BY ARA/CAR:RWZIMMERMANN:LB
APPROVED BY ARA/CAR:RWZIMMERMANN
——————054358 072214Z /70 O

P 072037Z DEC 78
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
INFO USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
UNCLAS STATE 308871
USUN FOR JOHN BLACKEN

E.O. 120655: N/A
TAGS: GY, OREP (RYAN, LEO), CASC.
SUBJECT: NOON PRESS BRIEFING DEC. 5, 1978

1. THERE FOLLOWS TRANSCRIPT OF PORTIONS OF NOON PRESS BRIEFING DECEMBER 5 RELATING TO GUYANA.

2. Q. A QUESTION ON GUYANA, PLEASE, HODDING. THERE IS A TIMES REPORT TODAY SAYING THAT PAPERS OF JONES SUGGEST A MUCH CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.S. EMBASSY THAN HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY ACKNOWLEDGED. CAN YOU TAKE THAT ONE, PLEASE?

A. YES. I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT, FIRST, THAT THE STORY IS BASED ON MEMORANDA WRITTEN BY PEOPLES TEMPLE REPRESENTATIVES IN GEORGETOWN TO MR. JONES IN JONESTOWN. FROM THE EVIDENCE WE HAVE AVAILABLE NOW, IT APPEARS CLEAR THAT THESE PEOPLE HAD CONSIDERABLE PERSONAL STAKE IN PLEASING

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MR. JONES. THAT SUGGESTS TO US THAT THE MEMOS WERE BASED UPON SELECTIVE, INCOMPLETE VERSIONS OF NORMAL AND TOTALLY JUSTIFIED BUSINESS CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN MR. MCCOY AND PEOPLES TEMPLE REPRESENTATIVES IN GEORGETOWN. DO YOU HAVE SOME SPECIFICS YOU WANT TO ASK ME ABOUT?

Q. WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT?

A. LET ME GO A LITTLE FURTHER, BECAUSE I DON’T NEED TO BE DRAWN OUT ON THIS ONE. WE FEEL FAIRLY STRONGLY ABOUT IT.

THE STORY RAISES ISSUES WHICH HAVE OBVIOUSLY BEEN OF CONCERN TO US, TO THE DEPARTMENT. THE DEPARTMENT HAS CAREFULLY INVESTIGATED THE PERSONAL CONDUCT AND PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE OF MR. MCCOY, AND OUR INVESTIGATION WILL GO FORWARD AS WE CONTINUE WITH OUR REVIEW OF THE ENTIRE JONESTOWN TRAGEDY.

BUT OUR INVESTIGATIONS TO DATE LEAD US TO THE CONVICTION THAT MR. MCCOY PERFORMED HIS DUTIES AS OUR CHIEF CONSULAR OFFICER IN GEORGETOWN IN A MANNER COMPLETELY CONSONANT WITH THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE AND ETHICAL BEHAVIOR. I WILL HAVE THIS AVAILABLE FOR YOU, BUT I WILL REPEAT IT. OUR INVESTIGATIONS TO DATE LEAD US TO THE CONVICTION THAT MR. MCCOY PERFORMED IN A MANNER COMPLETELY CONSONANT WITH THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE AND ETHICAL BEHAVIOR.

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THE ROLE OF CONSULAR OFFICIALS IS NECESSARILY PROSCRIBED BY U.S. LAW, DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS, AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES OF THE RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS RESIDING ABROAD.

WE ARE CONVINCED THAT MR. MCCOY DID EVERYTHING POSSIBLE WITHIN THESE LIMITATIONS.

INSOFAR AS THE PROPRIETY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MR. MCCOY AND THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IS CONCERNED, GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF A LARGE AMERICAN COMMUNITY ISOLATED AND APART FROM OUR EMBASSY IN GEORGETOWN, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR MR. MCCOY TO MAINTAIN A WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PEOPLES TEMPLE REPRESENTATIVES IN GEORGETOWN.

IT IN FACT BECAME INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN SUCH A RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE OF MR. MCCOY’S OWN SUSPICIONS OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE, AND BECAUSE OF THEIR INCREASING HOSTILITY TOWARD MR. MCCOY.

THIS WAS PARTIALLY BECAUSE MR. MCCOY HAD FREQUENT CONTACTS WITH GUYANESE POLICE OFFICIALS CONCERNING THE PEOPLES TEMPLE. PEOPLES TEMPLE LEADERS WERE APPARENTLY AWARE OF THESE CONTACTS.

INSOFAR AS SOME SPECIFIC ALLEGATIONS ARE CONCERNED, FOR INSTANCE, DID HE UNDERTAKE TO AGREE TO FIND OUT WHO WAS SPREADING RUMORS IN THE EMBASSY THAT MR. JONES WAS AN ATHEIST, IN FACT, THAT IS INCORRECT. THE CONVERSATION REPORTED IN THE PEOPLES TEMPLE MEMO APPARENTLY REFERS TO A CONVERSATION IN WHICH MR. MCCOY HIMSELF WAS ACCUSED OF BEING THE SOURCE OF SUCH RUMORS.

INSOFAR AS THE STOEN CASE, THE CUSTODY CASE, WAS CONCERNED, WHAT THE EMBASSY SAID IN THAT RESPECT, AND IT HAS

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BEEN REPEATED BY HIGHER OFFICIALS, THE EMBASSY IS INVOLVED IN PROVIDING CONSULAR SERVICES TO AMERICAN CITIZENS IN THE LITIGATION WHICH CAME BEFORE THE GUYANESE COURTS.

HOWEVER, IT WAS AND IS THE DEPARTMENT’S POSITION THAT THE EMBASSY CANNOT TAKE A POSITION FAVORING ONE SIDE OR ANOTHER IN A CASE IN WHICH ALL THE DISPUTANTS ARE AMERICANS CITIZENS.

INSOFAR AS THE ALLEGATION THAT IN FACT MR. MCCOY INFORMED JONESTOWN OF A LIST OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE HE WISHED TO SEE WHEN HE MADE VISITS THERE, THAT IS UNTRUE. IT WAS A REASONABLE PROCEDURE WHICH HE FOLLOWED TO LET THE OFFICIALS THERE KNOW OF A NUMBER OF THE PEOPLE HE WANTED TO SEE.

AT NO TIME WAS A COMPLETE LIST GIVEN. THE NAMES OF CERTAIN PEOPLE IN ESPECIALLY PROBLEMATIC CASES, THAT IS, ONES IN WHICH THERE WERE PARTICULAR PROBLEMS RAISED BY ACCUSATIONS OF SOME KIND OF DURESS, WERE DELIBERATELY WITHHELD PRIOR TO MR. MCCOY’S FIRST TWO VISITS TO JONESTOWN.

IN THE CASE OF HIS FINAL VISIT, ONLY THOSE NAMES OF PEOPLE WISHING TO REPORT A BIRTH WERE FURNISHED TO JONESTOWN. FOUR OTHER NAMES WERE WITHHELD. I THINK THAT IS WHAT I HAVE ON THAT.

Q. HODDING, CAN YOU TAKE A QUESTION WHICH I DON’T BELIEVE HAS BEEN ANSWERED, ALTHOUGH POSED HERE LAST WEEK. WHEN THE GUYANA COURT IN EFFECT DROPPED THE STOEN

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CUSTODY CASE, WAS THE AMERICAN EMBASSY INFORMED OF THE DEATH THREATS MADE AGAINST THE GUYANA JUDGE? AND DID THE EMBASSY REPORT THAT TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT?

A. I THINK THE JUDGE SAID PUBLICLY AT THE TIME THAT THE CONDUCT OF NOT THE LAWYERS, BUT SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE TRIAL, HAD LED HIM TO THE DECISION TO DROP THE CASE.

Q. THE JUDGE HAS SAID SINCE PUBLICLY THAT HE WAS THREATENED WITH ASSASSINATION, HE AND HIS FAMILY, BY MEMBERS OF THE JONESTOWN COMMUNITY.

A. I AM AWARE OF THAT, TOO. I AM SAYING AT THE TIME, I THOUGHT YOU ASKED ME –

Q. AND THE LAWYER FOR MRS. STOEN HAS ALSO ALLEGED THAT AT THE TIME THE EMBASSY WAS AWARE OF THE THREAT OF MASS SUICIDE, IS THAT TRUE OR NOT?

A. I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN ANSWER THAT. NO, I CAN’T ANSWER IT. LET ME TAKE THE QUESTION.

Q. IN ANY EVENT, THE EMBASSY DID NOT REPORT TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT THAT THERE WAS ANY DEATH THREAT AGAINST THE JUDGE.

A. THAT ONE I WILL HAVE TO TAKE. I WILL TAKE THAT QUESTION.

Q. HODDING, CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY IT HAS TAKEN YOU PEOPLE SO LONG TO COMMENT ON THIS? I UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THE AP FIRST CAME UP WITH THIS STORY THAT YOU WERE INFORMED OF IT AND ASKED TO COMMENT ON IT YESTERDAY, AND AS RECENTLY AS 11:00 THIS MORNING, A SENIOR DEPUTY OF YOURS INDICATED THAT YOU HAD NO ANSWER AND, QUOTE, WERE JUST GOING TO

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HAVE TO TAKE THE HEAT, UNQUOTE, ON THIS ONE.

A. NO. I WISH DEPUTIES WOULDN’T COMMENT — NO, THAT IS BEING FACETIOUS.

THE REAL QUESTION WAS WHETHER OR NOT AT THIS POINT, WHAT WAS BEING REQUESTED AS I UNDERSTOOD IT, WAS PROVIDING MR. MCCOY. THAT DECISION HAS NOT BEEN TAKEN.

Q. WELL, YOU HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON THE STORY, THE DEPARTMENT DID, AND IT HAS TAKEN YOU — YOU KNOW, AFTER THE STORY HAS BEEN RUN IN THE NEWSPAPERS, YOU FINALLY GET AROUND TO IT.

I AM JUST CURIOUS WHY YOU PEOPLE ARE SO SLOW TO COME UP WITH THIS KIND OF A THING.

A. I WILL GO ON BACKGROUND. THERE IS ALWAYS A QUESTION IN CHARGES INVOLVING INDIVIDUALS, WHETHER IN FACT YOU ATTEMPT TO DEAL WITH IT GENERALLY AND NOT SPECIFICALLY, ON THE GROUNDS THAT YOU MAY BE PROVIDING A PRECEDENT IN WHICH EVERY TIME EITHER A NUT, A LEGITIMATE NEWSMAN OR ANYBODY ELSE RAISES ACCUSATIONS AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS PURSUING HIS DUTY AS HE UNDERSTANDS IT BEST, YOU WILL PROMPTLY MAKE THAT PERSON AVAILABLE TO ANSWER THOSE CHARGES. THAT IS ALWAYS A DEBATE THAT GOES ON EACH TIME THAT SPECIFIC ACCUSATIONS ARE MADE BY CONGRESSMEN OR JOURNALISTS OR PAMPHLETEERS, OR ANYBODY ELSE, WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE GOING TO EXPOSE THEM AND THEREBY SET THE PRECEDENT THAT ANY FOOL CAN GET A PERSON HAULED BEFORE A PUBLIC INQUIRY ON THE BASIS OF SOME KIND OF CHARGE. EACH TIME YOU HAVE TO WORK YOUR WAY THROUGH IT.

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AND, STILL TALKING ON BACKGROUND, THIS IS ONE THAT IS BEING WORKED THROUGH THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO MAKE THAT DECISION.

Q. HODDING, THAT IS CERTAINLY A REASONALBE POSITION, BUT IT IS NOT AS IF THIS THING CAME UP OUT OF THE BLUE YESTERDAY. YOU HAVE KNOWN FOR QUITE A WHILE THAT THERE IS A CONTROVERSIAL POINT HERE ABOUT THE WAY THE CONSULAR MATTERS WERE HANDLED DOWN THERE.

A. WE FELT WE WERE ANSWERING THE GENERAL QUESTIONS AS THEY CAME IN REGARD TO HOW HE CONDUCTED — OR HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR CONSULAR BUSINESS DOWN THERE IN REGARDS TO JONESTOWN.

CLEARLY YOU THEN WERE GIVEN A NEW ELEMENT, AND THERE HAVE BEEN OTHER NEW ELEMENTS THAT HAVE COME IN, AND WE HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH THEM. END BACKGROUND.

Q. HODDING, I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH ALL OF THE LITERATURE OF THIS DEBATE, BUT IS THIS THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU HAVE SAID FROM HERE THAT ANY BODY IN THE EMBASSY HAD REAL CONCERNS ABOUT THE PEOPLES TEMPLE?

A. NO. I THINK WE HAVE INDICATED, I THOUGHT, RATHER OFTEN THAT THERE WERE CONCERNS, AND BECAUSE WE HAD CONCERNS, WE FOLLOWED THROUGH ON THE TRIPS TO JONESTOWN TO ASK THE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS THAT WERE RAISED.

Q. I HAD THE IMPRESSION THAT FROM THESE TRIPS THE EMBASSY HAD THE IMPRESSION THAT THINGS WERE GOING ALONG PRETTY WELL.

A. I THINK THAT THE EMBASSY HAD TO REPORT WHAT IT FOUND, AND THE CONSULAR OFFICER WOULD REPORT THAT HE DID NOT HAVE ANY VERIFICATION OFFERED TO HIM BY ANYBODY WHO WAS

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THERE, INCLUDING THOSE HE HAD NOT NOTIFIED THAT HE WAS COMING, AND THAT INSOFAR AS THE OPERATION OF THE FARM ITSELF WAS CONCERNED, IT WAS WHAT IT PURPORTED TO BE. THAT IS WHAT HE DID FIND.

Q. CAN YOU GIVE ME AN UPDATE ON IDENTIFYING THE DEAD PEOPLE, IDENTIFYING THEM WITH THE PASSPORT?

A. JEFF, DO YOU HAVE A FIGURE ON THAT? MR. DIETERICH: I DON’T HAVE A RECENT FIGURE. DOVER HAS BEEN PUTTING OUT FIGURES ON A NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE IDENTIFIED ON A DAILY BASIS.

MR. CARTER: DID YOU WANT TO TRY DOVER?

Q. WHAT IS THE PROCESS YOU GO THROUGH WITH THE PASSPORTS, SPECIFICALLY THE PASSPORTS, IF THAT IS ALL YOU HAVE?

A. OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH OTHER PROCESSES, AS WELL AS FINDING OTHER PHYSICAL IDENTIFICATION WHICH MAY BE IN SOME FILE SOMEWHERE, EITHER ON THE COAST OR IN OTHER PLACES WHERE SOME IDENTIFICATIONS MIGHT BE KEPT. YOU RECOGNIZE THE STATE OF MANY OF THE BODIES, BUT THEY ARE MORE THAN JUST TRYING TO MATCH UP PEOPLE TO PASSPORTS.

IS THE STATE OF IT ALL TO THE POINT WHERE WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE UP IDENTIFYING? GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE UP IDENTIFYING? I DON’T KNOW, AND I THINK YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO ASK THE UNIT THAT IS DOING THAT. THAT IS OUT OF OUR TO ASK THE UNIT THAT IS DOING THAT. THAT IS OUT OF OUR

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HANDS, RIGHT NOW.

Q HODDING, AS A MATTER OF PROCEDURE, WOULD MR. MCCOY BE AVAILABLE TO APPEAR BEFORE A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE?

Q. CAN’T HEAR.

A. THE QUESTION IS: WOULD MR MCCOY BE MADE AVAILABLE TO APPEAR BEFORE A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE? I DO NOT KNOW.

Q. YOU INDICATED THAT THE INVESTIGATION OF MR. MCCOY’S CONDUCT IS CONTINUING.

A I INDICATED THAT OUR INVESTIGATION OF ALL THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE JONESTOWN THING CONTINUES, AND MR. MCCOY HIMSELF WOULD BE QUITE HAPPY TO SEE EACH AND EVERY AVENUE EXPLORED, AND IN FACT OBVIOUSLY THEY WILL BE. BUT I THINK LAST FRIDAY TOM SPOKE TO THE QUESTION OF HOW FAR WE WERE ALONG ON THAT.

Q. HODDING, WAS THERE EVER AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION HERE AS TO WHY THE STATE DEPARTMENT DID NOT REFER TO JUSTICE A REQUEST FROM CONGRESSMAN RYAN TO EXPLORE THE GROUNDS FOR EXTRADITION OF JONES FOLLOWING AN ORDER FROM THE SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA?

A. IT WAS OUR UNDERSTANDING FROM JUSTICE — WAIT, I THINK THAT WAS ANSWERED AND POSTED, BECAUSE WHEN I CAME BACK I REMEMBER READING IT.

Q. IT WAS POSTED.

A. I UNDERSTAND FROM TALKING WITH JUSTICE THAT IN FACT THEY SAID THERE WAS NO LEGAL GROUNDS UNDER WHICH THAT COULD PROCEED, AND THERE WAS HARDLY ANY POINT IN ATTEMPTING IT, SINCE THERE WAS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR IT.

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Q. WHAT DID MCCOY TELL THE GUYANA POLICE? YOU SAID THAT MCCOY HAD PROBLEMS WITH THE PEOPLES TEMPLE BECAUSE HE WAS A SOURCE –

A. HE HAD CONVERSATIONS.

Q. WHAT DID HE TELL THEM? WHAT WAS HE UPSET ABOUT?

A. LET ME TAKE THE QUESTION, AGAIN, BECAUSE I DON’T REMEMBER. I DON’T WANT TO TRY TO WING THAT ONE. I AM TAKING YOUR QUESTION.

Q. HODDING, A COUPLE MORE ON GUYANA, PLEASE. CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT THE DISPOSITION OF JONES’ BODY?

A. I THINK FOR THE BODY QUESTIONS NOW, AND THAT SORT OF THING, I AM GOING TO HAVE TO REFER YOU ELSEWHERE AS A SOURCE.

Q. TO WHERE?

A. I WOULD EITHER TRY JUSTICE OR I WOULD TRY DOVER.

Q. THEY SAY TO GO TO STATE.

A. YOU MEAN, YOU ARE GETTING A CIRCULAR RESPONSE HERE.

Q. YES.

A. FRANKLY, OUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN THIS MATTER END AT THE WATER’S EDGE, COMING BACK RATHER THAN GOING OUT, AND I DON’T THINK THAT I HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THAT.

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Q. LET ME ASK YOU ONE OR TWO OTHERS HERE, PLEASE DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ON THE REPORT ABOUT JONES HAVING STASHED AWAY AT LEAST DOLS 10 MILLION IN DIFFERENT BANKS AROUND THE WORLD?

A. LET ME SAY THAT OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE SEEN THOSE REPORTS IN THE PAPER. I DO NOT HAVE ANY INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION OF IT. THAT IS CLEARLY A MATTER FOR THE ON-GOING INVESTIGATION OF THE ENTIRE MATTER WHICH IS TO BEGIN. IT IS NOT A STATE DEPARTMENT FUNCTION.

Q. AND THIS LAST ONE, IF I COULD ASK IT, PLEASE, ABOUT THE REPORT THAT SEALED ARREST WARRANTS HAD BEEN ISSUED TO PEOPLE BY THE FBI BELIEVED RESPONSIBLE FOR THE KILLING OF RYAN?

A. NO, I WOULD NOT HAVE ANY COMMENT ON THAT.

Q. HODDING, COULD YOU AMPLIFY AN ANSWER POSTED LAST WEEK? YOU SAID THAT MR. MCCOY GAVE LISTS OF PEOPLE INTENDING TO VISIT AT JONESTOWN, THE PEOPLES TEMPLE. WHY WAS THAT DONE?

A. AS BECAME PRETTY CLEAR RIGHT OFTEN, THE PEOPLE AT JONESTOWN HAD SAID REPEATEDLY THAT THEY, OF COURSE, HAD A RIGHT TO TURN AWAY ANYBODY THAT THEY WANTED TO TURN AWAY. IT WAS TO TRY TO FACILITATE VISITS BY PEOPLE WHO WERE GOING THERE THAT THEY WERE INFORMED THAT THEY WERE COMING. OTHERWISE, THE NORMAL REACTION IN ANY KIND OF COMMUNITY, AND FRANKLY AT MY FRONT DOOR, IS THAT YOU DON’T GIVE ME ADVANCE NOTICE AND YOU COME WITH INTENT I DON’T KNOW, I DON’T LET YOU IN.

Q. WAS HE GIVING PEOPLE LISTS BECAUSE HE FEARED THAT A

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VISIT OF SOME GROUP OR OTHER TO JONESTOWN MIGHT TRIGGER A MASS SUICIDE?

A. I SINCERELY DOUBT THAT.

Q. COULD YOU JUST TAKE THAT QUESTION, TO SEE WHETHER HE FEARED THAT?

A. YES. YOU MEAN, WHAT WAS IN HIS MIND.

Q. THAT AN ATTEMPT TO TAKE THE STOEN CHILD BACK, FOR EXAMPLE, MIGHT TRIGGER A MASS SUICIDE.

A. AGAIN, I DOUBT IT; BUT YES, I WILL SEE WHETHER HE WANTS TO REVEAL WHAT WAS IN HIS MIND AT THE TIME.

Q. HODDING, A STATEMENT LAST FRIDAY BY TOM RESTON SAID THAT THERE ARE FEW GROUPS OF AMERICANS OVERSEAS TO WHOM SO MUCH ATTENTION WAS PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS. DOES THAT INCLUDE LOOKING INTO THE ROLE OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IN THE DOMESTIC POLITICS OF GUYANA?

A. I DOUBT IT.

Q. COULD YOU TAKE THE QUESTION, WHETHER THAT WAS EVER RAISED?

A. THE QUESTION IS BEING RAISED, JEFF — AND IN SOME OF THESE RUNNING BRIEFINGS IT MAY HAVE BEEN HANDLED — DID WE IN FACT LOOK INTO THE QUESTION OF THE POLITICAL ROLE OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IN THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF GUYANA. I REMEMBER A GENERAL THESIS WAS THAT THAT FRANKLY WAS A QUESTION WHICH WOULD BE OF CONCERN TO THE GUYANESE

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GOVERNMENT, BUT THAT WE IN FACT DO NOT SUPERVISE AMERICAN CITIZENS INSOFAR AS THEIR POLITICAL ACTIVITY ABROAD IS CONCERNED.

Q. ONE OF THE FIRST STORIES SAID THAT THE PEOPLES TEMPLE MEMBERS HAD CAMPAIGNED, APPARENTLY FOR –

A. I DID GO THROUGH A ROUTINE WITH THAT, OR JOHN BUSHNELL WENT THROUGH ONE ON THAT. AND WHAT I SAID THEN IS GENERALLY WHAT THE ANSWER WAS.

MR. DIETERICH: THE RESPONSE TO JUAN’S QUESTION ABOUT THE STATEMENT DEVOTING MORE ATTENTION TO THIS GROUP THAN TO OTHER GROUPS REFERRED TO IT IN THE CONSULAR SENSE, IN TERMS OF THE USE OF CONSULAR SERVICES.

MR. CARTER: BUT IN ANY CASE, YOUR QUESTION REMAINS. AND I THINK THE ANSWER IS NO.

Q. HODDING, ON ANOTHER LINE, WOULDN’T THE EMBASSY BE REPORTING ON UNUSUAL POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN GUYANA FROM THE STANDPOINT OF –

A. YES.

Q. WOULDN’T THIS BE A LEGITIMATE FUNCTION TO BE REPORTING ON?

A. IF IT SEEMS TO BE ARISING TO THAT OCCASION, I WOULD SAY SO.

BUT BEFORE WE BUILD A FRAMEWORK FOR AN ENTIRE STORY HERE: YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT ALLEGATIONS OF POLITICAL INVOLVEMENTS WHICH HAVE TRICKLED OUT AT SOME LENGTH BUT DID NOT HAVE ANY PARTICULAR COVERAGE IN THE PRESS OF ITS OWN NATIONS, IN WHICH THERE IS AN OPPOSITION PRESS.

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Q. IF I MAY PURSUE THIS, CAN YOU TELL US THEN WHETHER OR NOT, CAN YOU SAY THAT THERE WAS NO REPORTING OF A NONCONSULAR BUT A POLITICAL NATURE FROM THE EMBASSY IN GUYANA RELATING TO RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PEOPLES TEMPLE AND MEMBERS OF THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT?

A. I’II TAKE THE QUESTION. I HAVE NO IDEA.

Q. HODDING, DO YOU KNOW WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN ANY KIND OF A ROUTINE, INSTRUCTIONS THAT HAVE GONE OUT TO AMERICAN EMBASSIES IN COUNTRIES WHERE OTHER CULTS ARE LOCATED, IN TERMS OF STEPPING UP THE REPORTING ON THESE ORGANIZATIONS? IS ANY EFFORT BEING MADE BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT AS A RESULT OF THIS TO –

A. I WOULD IMAGINE THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY PROTEST, INQUIRIES, OR THE LIKE, THE ANSWER WOULD BE NO; THAT IS, THAT A GENERAL, OVERALL BLANKET DECISION TO START LOOKING INTO RELIGIOUS –

NOW LET’S USE THE WORD CORRECTLY. ONE MAN’S CULT IS ANOTHER MAN’S MAIN-STREAM RELIGIOUS BELIEF. AND THEREFORE — ARE WE SENDING OUT AN ORDER TO OUR EMBASSIES TO START LOOKING INTO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS ABROAD IN WHICH AMERICANS ARE PARTICIPATING? — I THINK THE ANSWER IS NO.

ARE WE LOOKING INTO ALLEGATIONS THAT ARE RAISED ABOUT PLACES? THE ANSWER IS YES; THAT IS, WE WILL TRY TO DO INVESTIGATORY ON THE WELL-BEING OF AMERICAN CITIZENS THERE.

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I HEARD SOMEONE SAY “FILLING BREAK.” I HOPE YOU WON’T, FOR SEVERAL REASONS: (1) BECAUSE WE’VE BEEN ON ONLY ONE SUBJECT AND THERE MAY BE SOME OTHER THINGS YOU WANT TO BE ON, AND (2) BECAUSE SOME OF YOU HAVE TO FILE BECAUSE GEORGE IS COMING ON HERE.

Q. DID THE STATE DEPARTMENT TAKE ANY ACTION TO TRY TO DRAFT A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE SETTLEMENT?

A. AFTER THE FACT?

Q. NO, BEFORE THE FACT.

A. PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE? DID WE TRY TO DO A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE? NO. 3. FOLLOWING ARE QUESTIONS THAT WERE TAKEN AND THE ANSWERS LATER POSTED.

4. Q. WHEN THE GUYANESE COURT IN EFFECT DROPPED THE STOEN CUSTODY CASE, WAS THE AMERICAN EMBASSY INFORMED OF THE DEATH THREATS MADE AGAINST THE GUYANESE JUDGE?

A. THE EMBASSY REPORTING AT THE TIME THE JUDGE WITHDREW FROM THE CASE (AUGUST I978) REVEALS NO AWARENESS THAT AN ACTUAL DEATH THREAT HAD BEEN MADE. AS WE HAVE SAID BEFORE THE EMBASSY DID REPORT THAT THE JUDGE HAD WITHDRAWN BECAUSE OF WHAT HE CHARACTERIZED AS PRESSURE TACTICS.

Q. WHAT DID MR. MCOY TELL THE GUYANESE POLICE ABOUT THE PEOPLES TEMPLE?

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A. MR. MCCOY BEGAN HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GUYANESE POLICE CONCERNING THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IN AUGUST OF 1977, BEFORE HIS FIRST VISIT TO JONESTOWN, AND CONTINUED THOSE CONTACTS UNTIL HIS DEPARTURE FROM GUYANA. SPECIFICALLY HE RELAYED TO THEM INFORMATION HE HAD RECEIVED FROM THE PRESS, CONCERNED RELATIVES AND FINALLY MRS. DEBORAH BLAKEY ABOUT ALLEGATIONS OF BEATINGS, HOLDING INDIVIDUALS AGAINST THEIR WILL, FIREARMS SMUGGLING, THE PRESENCE OF ARMED GUARDS, AND RUMORS CONCERNING PLANS FOR MASS SUICIDE. IT IS SAFE TO ASSUME THAT GUYANESE OFFICIALS WERE ALSO AWARE OF THE ALLEGATIONS FROM INDEPENDENT SOURCES OF THEIR OWN AND FROM LETTERS THAT THEY HAD RECEIVED.

Q. WAS THERE ANY POLITICAL (NON-CONSULAR) REPORTING FROM THE EMBASSY TO THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNING THE ROLE BEING PLAYED BY THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IN GUYANESE POLITICAL AFFAIRS?

A. THERE WAS SOME REPORTING OF THIS KIND DEALING WITH THE FACTS OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF JONESTOWN AND ITS GENERAL RELATIONS AND STATUS VIS-A-VIS THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT. WE ARE NOT AT LIBERTY AT THIS TIME TO FURNISH FURTHER DETAILS SINCE THE REPORTING CONTAINED SOME INFORMATION PROVIDED IN CONFIDENCE BY GUYANESE OFFICIALS AND IS THEREFORE CLASSIFIED.

Q. HOW MANY BODIES HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AT DOVER?

A. AS OF THIS MORNING 518 HAD BEEN IDENTIFIED.

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Q. DID MR. MCCOY FEEL THAT THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY OF A MASS SUICIDE IN JONESTOWN AS THE RESULT OF AN ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE STOEN CHILD FROM THE PEOPLES TEMPLE COMMUNITY OR FROM A VISIT OF SOME GROUP OR ANOTHER TO THE COMMUNITY? WAS THAT WHY HE FURNISHED LISTS OF PEOPLE HE WANTED TO SEE?

A. PEOPLES TEMPLE REPRESENTATIVES, INCLUDING SHARON AMOS AND MRS. JONES TOLD MR. MCCOY AND DCM JOHN BLACKEN THAT IF THE STOEN CHILD WAS TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM “WE WILL ALL JUST GIVE UP AND DIE . . . WE WILL ALL COMMIT SUICIDE.” MR. MCCOY’S REACTION AT THAT TIME WAS THAT THE REMARK WAS A PSYCHOLOGICAL PLOY DESIGNED TO INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME OF THE TRIAL. HE FRANKLY DID NOT TAKE THE THREAT SERIOUSLY. NEITHER DID ANYONE ELSE IN THE AMERICAN EMBASSY. HE PROVIDED PARTIAL LISTS OF THOSE PEOPLE HE WANTED TO SEE AT THE COMMUNITY SIMPLY FOR REASONS OF PRACTICALITY INVOLVING THE AMOUNT OF TRAVEL INVOLVED IN VISITING THE TEMPLE. HOWEVER, WE REPEAT, HE ALWAYS RETAINED A NUMBER OF NAMES OF PEOPLE HE WANTED TO SEE AND REVEALED THEM ONLY AFTER HIS ARRIVAL IN JONESTOWN.

VANCE

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<< END OF DOCUMENT >>

Originally posted on March 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on March 31st, 2021.
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