Embassy response to Congressional queries, March 3, 1978

[Editor’s note: Page 1 is a routing slip from the American Embassy in Georgetown, to the offices of ARA and CAR in the Department of State, and to Frank Tumminia, the Guyana Desk Officer. Dated March 8, 1978, it is attached to a letter to Sen. Richard G. Lugar, and was likely used as a template in response to other congressional inquiries.]

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Georgetown, Guyana

March 3, 1978

Senator Richard G. Lugar
Room 447
46 E. Ohio Street
PO Box 44122
Indianapolis, Indiana 46244

Dear Senator Lugar:

I refer to your memorandum dated February 9, 1978 with enclosure concerning the child custody case of John Victor Stoen.

The Embassy has closely monitored this case since its inception in September, 1977. Embassy Officials have consulted with Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Stoen while they were in Guyana and offered appropriate assistance whenever and wherever possible.

As Mr. and Mrs. Stoen indicated to you in their mailgram, the case is presently pending in the Guyanese Courts.

Mr. and Mrs. Stoen are represented by a competent local attorney who has submitted into evidence a California Court order awarding Mrs. Stoen custody of her son, John. In this connection child custody orders issued in the United States are not accepted for enforcement in Guyana but may be admitted as evidence to support a claim for custody. At the present time we are waiting for the Judge to present his written decision on motions presented by the Stoens’ attorney on January 10, 1978. However, a factor in this case that we must consider is that all the disputants are American citizens. As such the Embassy has to be very careful to avoid taking any action that would be deemed prejudicial towards the rights of any of our citizens.

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You may be assured that the Embassy will continue to follow this case closely and you will be informed of the outcome. Please accept my best wishes.

John D. Blacken
Charge d’Affaires