Dec 8, 78 • 1702 • State-Georgetown • 309871

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE309871_d.html.]

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STATE 309871
ORIGIN ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 PA-02 ICAE-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 INRE-00 /028 R
DRAFTED BY ARA/JABUSHNELL
APPROVED BY ARA/JABUSHNELL
——————068173 081734Z /43

O 081702Z DEC 78
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS STATE 309871

E.O. 12065: N/A
TAGS: SOPN, GY
SUBJECT: NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE

FOLLOWING IS NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE DECEMBER 8: HEADING: RUBBLE OF COMMUNE YIELDS A TAPE OF CULTISTS DYING, JONES EXHORTING, BY JOSEPH B. TREASTER. QUOTE:

A TAPE RECORDING OF PART OF THE FINAL NIGHT OF MADNESS AT JONESTOWN HAS BEEN FOUND AMONG THE RUINS OF THE JUNGLE COMMUNE, AMERICAN GOVERNMENT SOURCES DISCLOSED TODAY.

AT THE SAME TIME, A GUYANESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SAID THAT $2.5 MILLION IN CASH HAD ALSO BEEN RECOVERED AT JONESTOWN. CHILDREN’S SHRIEKS PERVADE THE TAPE RECORDING, THE AMERICANS SAID, AND GUNSHOTS CAN BE HEARD CLEARLY IN THE BACKGROUND.

A TRANSCRIPT WAS NOT AVAILABLE, BUT THE AMERICANS SAID THAT THE BARITONE VOICE OF THE REV. JIM JONES DOMINATED THE RECORDING, AT SEVERAL POINTS URGING MOTHERS TO CALM

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THEIR YOUNG.

“HE KEPT TELLING THEM, ‘MOTHERS, YOU MUST KEEP YOUR CHILDREN UNDER CONTROL,'” AN AMERICAN SAID, PARAPHRASING THE RECORDING. “‘THEY MUST DIE WITH DIGNITY.'”

ANOTHER AMERICAN SAID: “HE KEPT TELLING THEM TO SHOOT THE POISON DOWN THE BACKS OF THEIR THROATS, TO GET IT WAY DOWN IN THERE. I GUESS HE MEANT WITH THE SYRINGES.”

THE AMERICANS SAID THAT THE RECORDING APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN STARTED SHORTLY AFTER MR. JONES GAVE THE ORDER FOR THE “REVOLUNTIONARY SUICIDE,” AND THE FIRST TO DIE, MOTHERS AND CHILDREN, HAD BEGUN TO DRINK FROM THE VAT OF POISONED SOFT DRINK.

“HUNDREDS OF RECORDINGS KEPT”

THE RECORDING OF THE DEATH CEREMONY WENT ON ONE OF HUNDREDS OF REEL-TO-REEL TAPES AND CASSETTES THAT GOVERNMENT FORCES AND FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AGENTS HAVE RECOVERED FROM THE COMMUNE, ALONG WITH NUMEROUS CARTONS OF DIRECTIVES, MEMORANDUMS, RECEIPTS, COMMENTARIES, CONTRACTS, DEEDS AND LETTERS.

THESE ARE BELIEVED TO DETAIL THE HISTORY OF A COMMUNITY OF MORE THAN 900 MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO FOLLOWED THE CHARISMATIC MR. JONES FROM ZEALOUS CHRISTIANITY TO FANATICAL SOCIALISM AND, FINALLY, TO DEATH.

“JONES WAS A FREAK ABOUT KEEPING RECORDS OF WHAT HE DID,” ONE AMERICAN SAID. “HE PUT EVERYTHING ON PAPER OR TAPE. HE APPARENTLY DIDN’T LEARN HIS LESSON FROM NIXON.”

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THE RECORDING OF THE NIGHT OF NOV. 18 IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED BY GUYANESE FORCES IN A MACHINE ON THE STAGE OF THE COMMUNE’S PAVILION, NEAR THE HEAVY WOODEN CHAIR FROM WHICH MR. JONES PRESIDED. THE GUYANESE ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE TURNED OVER THE RECORDING, OR A COPY OF IT, TO UNITED STATES AUTHORITIES.

THE TAPE RECORDING APPEARS TO CONFIRM IN LARGE PART STATEMENTS MADE EARLIER BY SEVERAL JONESTOWN SURVIVORS. THE PARAPHRASES OFFERED TODAY WERE IN SOME INSTANCES ALMOST VERBATIM REITERATIONS OF STATEMENTS MADE BY SOME OF THE SURVIVORS.

JUST HOW COMPLETE A PICTURE OF JONESTOWN CAN BE PIECED TOGETHER IS AN OPEN QUESTION BECAUSE THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN WIDESPREAD LOOTING.

“GUYANESE TELLS OF DISCOVERIES”

BY THE TIME A GROUP OF MORE THAN 40 FOREIGN JOURNALISTS REACHED JONESTOWN, A WEEK AFTER THE NIGHT OF NOV. 18, WHEN THE CULT MEMBERS DIED, THEY FOUND THE TIN-ROOFED HOUSES RINGED BY PAPERS, CLOTHING AND FURNITURE THAT HAD BEEN TOSSED FROM WINDOWS, AS THOUGH IN A HASTY PROCESS OF SORTING.

THERE STILL SEEMED TO BE PLENTY OF INTERESTING MATERIAL, THOUGH, AND THE JOURNALISTS HELPED THEMSELVES. IN AN INTERVIEW AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS, COMMISSIONER LLOYD A. BARKER SAID THAT THE $2.5 MILLION IN UNITED STATES AND GUYANESE CURRENCY HAD BEEN FOUND IN A CHICKEN PEN AND AT SEVERAL OTHER LOCATIONS WITHIN THE COMMUNE. HE SAID IT INCLUDED MORE THAN $500,000 THAT THREE MEMBERS

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OF THE CULT HAD TRIED TO TAKE WITH THEM IN A SUITCASE WHEN THEY FLED AS THE OTHERS WERE DYING.

“F.B.I. TEAM VISITS THE SCENE”

COMMISSIONER BARKER SAID HE DID NOT KNOW HOW MUCH MORE MONEY THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MIGHT HAVE IN THE BANK ACCOUNTS THAT IT REPORTEDLY KEPT IN GEORGETOWN, THE GUYANESE CAPITAL. HE SAID THAT HIS OFFICERS HAD ALSO CONFISCATED 19 RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS AND 13 HANDGUNS. ANOTHER SOURCE SAID THAT THOUSANDS OF ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION HAD ALSO BEEN FOUND.

FOUR AGENTS OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, IN JEANS AND SUNGLASSES, WENT TO JONESTOWN YESTERDAY. THEY STOPPED FIRST AT THE AIRFIELD AT PORT KAITUMA WHERE REPRESENTATIVE LEO J. RYAN, DEMOCRAT OF CALIFORNIA, AND FOUR OTHER AMERICANS WERE SHOT TO DEATH. THE TWIN-ENGINE DE HAVILLAND OTTER THAT THE CONGRESSMAN’S PARTY HAD ATTEMPTED TO BOARD REMAINED DISABLED THERE. THE AGENTS EXAMINED THE BULLET-RIDDLED FUSELAGE.

THEY THEN FORMED A LINE WITH THE AMERICAN HELICOPTER CREWMEN WHO HAD FLOWN THEM FROM GEORGETOWN AND SLOWLY PICKED THEIR WAY ACROSS THE AIRFIELD. THE SWEEP, IT WAS REPORTED, NETTED THEM TWO .22-CALIBER SHELLS, THE METAL JACKETS OF TWO HIGH-POWERED SLUGS, FRAGMENTS OF SHOTGUN SHELLS, A BROKEN PAIR OF EYEGLASSES AND SEVERAL BITS OF HUMAN SKULL BONES. UNQUOTE.

VANCE

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Originally posted on March 24th, 2020.

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