Dec 31, 78 • 2145 • Georgetown-State • 4524

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 1496 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE04524_d.html.]

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GEORGE 04524 312207Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 EUR-12 CIAE-00 DODE-00 PM-05 H-01
INR-10 L-03 NSAE-00 PA-01 SP-02 SS-15 FBIE-00
JUSE-00 NSCE-00 SSO-00 ICAE-00 INRE-00 /065 W
——————050148 312216Z /73

O 312145Z DEC 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 8620
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 4524
E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: SOPN PDIO, GY
SUBJ: FOREIGN MINISTER REQUESTS THAT USG DEAL WITH PRESS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST GOG AMBASSADOR ON URGENT BASIS: STATES THAT JAN 1 LOCAL MEDIA WILL CARRY STORY OF PEOPLES’ TEMPLE DELIVERY OF CASH TO SOVIET EMBASSY ON NOVEMBER 18
REF: GEORGETOWN (A) 4516 AND (B) 4505

1. AT REQUEST OF CHIEF OF PROTOCOL, CHARGE TELEPHONED FOREIGN MINISTER [RASHLEIGH] JACKSON AT HOME 1800 HOURS LOCAL DECEMBER 31. JACKSON ENQUIRED WHETHER CHARGE HAD YET HAD ANY RESPONSE TO DÉMARCHE MADE AFTERNOON DECEMBER 29 (REFTEL A), REGARDING DEC. 24 NY TIMES REPORT THAT SENIOR USG [U.S. GOVERNMENT] OFFICIALS HAD DOUBTED WHETHER GOG [GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA] AMBASSADOR [LAURENCE] MANN HAD IN FACT MADE ENQUIRIES IN US REGARDING PEOPLE’S TEMPLE. CHARGE REPLIED THAT MINISTER’S DÉMARCHE HAD ALREADY BEEN REPORTED TO WASHINGTON AND THAT HE HAD HAD OPPORTUNITY TO INFORM AMBASSADOR [JOHN] BURKE OF IT IN CONVERSATION LATER SAME DAY. CHARGE NOTED THAT AMB BURKE SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE IN WASHINGTON EVENING OF DECEMBER 30. CHARGE ADDED THAT HE WAS CERTAIN THAT DEPARTMENT WOULD WISH TO GIVE MATTER RAISED BY FOREIGN MINISTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION, AND THAT SUCH CONSIDERATION MIGHT NOT BE FEASIBLE UNTIL AFTER HOLIDAY. CHARGE HOPED TO BE ABLE TO GIVE MINISTER AN INITIAL

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RESPONSE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER NEW YEAR’S DAY. MINISTER REPLIED THAT HE WISHED TO BE SURE THAT CHARGE UNDERSTOOD THE GOG VIEW THAT THE MATTER IS URGENT, WHICH THE CHARGE PROMISED TO CONVEY IMMEDIATELY TO DEPARTMENT.

2. JACKSON THEN STATED THAT HE WISHED CHARGE TO KNOW THAT GOG MEDIA WOULD CARRY ON JANUARY 1 REPORT OF DELIVERY OF VARIOUS CURRENCIES (BUT ALMOST NO US DOLLARS) TO THE SOVIET EMBASSY BY PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBERS IN GEORGETOWN ON NOVEMBER 18, DATE OF ASSASSINATION OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN AND MASS DEATHS AT JONESTOWN. JACKSON SAID THAT TAPES HAD ALSO BEEN DELIVERED ALONG WITH THE MONIES. SOVIETS, ACCORDING TO THE MINISTER, HAD THEN TURNED MATERIAL OVER TO THE FOREIGN MINISTRY (HE DID NOT SAY WHEN). IN RESPONSE TO CHARGE’S QUESTION, HE STATED THAT HE DID NOT BELIEVE MATERIAL ITSELF OR TREATMENT THEREOF TO BE PARTICULARLY STARTLING OR SENSATIONAL.

3. COMMENT: FACT THAT MINISTER CHOSE TO REQUEST CONTACT WITH CHARGE ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, AN IMPORTANT HOLIDAY IN GUYANA, SUGGESTS THAT HE IS BEING PRESSURED SURELY BY AMBASSADOR MANN IN WASHINGTON AND MOST PROBABLY BY SENIOR GUYANESE AUTHORITIES HERE. GOG UNDOUBTEDLY PLANNING RESPONSE TO NT [NY] TIMES STORY, AND HOPES FOR USG COMMENTS BEFORE SUCH RESPONSE IS MADE. INCIDENTIALLY [INCIDENTALLY], SIGNING OF USAID AGREEMENTS ON BOTH DECEMBER 28 AND DECEMBER 30 RECEIVED PROMINENT FRONT PAGE COVERAGE WITH PHOTOS OF SIGNING IN GOVERNMENT-OWNED NEWSPAPERS AND PROMINENT MENTION ON RADIO, WHICH MAY WELL BE GOG SIGNAL OF ITS CONSIDERATION AS TO HOW COMMENTS ON BILATERAL RELATIONS SHOULD BE HANDLED IN THE MEDIA.

DWYER [Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Dwyer]

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Originally posted on March 25th, 2020.

Last modified on July 6th, 2022.
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