Dec 12, 78 • 1753 • Georgetown-State • 4239

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE04239_d.html.]

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GEORGE 04239 121924Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SS-15 NSC-05 SP-02 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 PA-01 ICA-11 L-03 H-01 /064 W
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P 121753Z DEC 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8432
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 4239

E.O. 12065: ADS 12/12/84 (DWYER, RICHARD A.) OR-M
TAGS: PGOV, GY
SUBJ: PRIME MINISTER’S REFLECTIONS ON GOG-US RELATIONS AFTER JONESTOWN TRAGEDY

1. AN EXPERIENCED AMERICAN JOURNALIST, WELL AND FAVORABLY KNOWN TO MEMBERS OF EMBASSY STAFF, HAS SHARED WITH EMBOFFS SOME ASPECTS OF HIS INTERVIEW ON DEC 10 WITH GUYANESE PRIME MINISTER FORBES BURNHAM. OF PARTICULAR INTEREST WAS BURNHAM’S RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION OF HOW THE JONESTOWN TRAGEDY MIGHT AFFECT GOG-US RELATIONS.

2. BURNHAM IS REPORTED TO HAVE SAID THAT THE JONESTOWN TRAGEDY HAD HAD NO ADVERSE EFFECT ON GOG-US RELATIONS “YET.” IN RESPONSE TO THE QUERY AS TO WHY HE HAD QUALIFIED HIS ANSWER, BURNHAM SAID THAT HE FEARED THAT THE U.S. WOULD TRY TO BLAME THE GYANESE GOVERNMENT FOR JONESTOWN. WHILE GOVERNMENT TO GOVERNMENT RELATIONS FOR THE MOMENT REMAINED GOOD, BURNHAM SAID HE WAS DISTURBED BY WHAT HE SAW AS VIOLENT PRESS ATTACKS ON HIS GOVERNMENT AND ITS OFFICIALS. HE SUSPECTED THAT THESE CRITICISM MIGHT COME TO BE REFLECTED IN OFFICIAL USG POLICY. THE QUESTION OF THE TAPE OF THE LAST MINUTES OF JONESTOWN IS A CASE IN POINT, THE PRIME MINISTER IS REPORTED TO HAVE SAID. THE USG, DESPITE PROMISES OF COOPERATION, HAS OBVIOUSLY PURSUED ITS OWN UNILATERAL POLICY WITHOUT CONSIDERATION FOR THE GOG.

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3. COMMENT: WE TEND TO VIEW THE PRIME MINISTER’S THOUGHTS AS REPORTED IN THE ABOVE CONVERSATION TO BE AN INDICATION OF HIS INCREASING SENSITIVITY TO PUBLIC AND OFFICAL [OFFICIAL] CRITICISM FROM THE UNITED STATES, NSITIVITY [SENSITIVITY] WHICH HAS BEEN HEIGHTENED AND SORELY TRIED BY THE HOLOCAUST AT JONESTOWN. IT WILL BE A TEMPTATION FOR THE PRIME MINISTER, PROBABLY ENCOURAGED BY CERTAIN OF HIS SENIOR ADVISORS, TO ATTEMPT TO RALLY FLAGGING DOMESTIC SUPPORT BY IDENTIFYING THE US AS A PRINCIPAL SOURCE OF THE MANY MISFORTUNES WHICH CURRENTLY AFFLICT GUYANA.

BURKE

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Originally posted on March 24th, 2020.

Last modified on December 30th, 2020.
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