On October 8, 1973, the Board of Directors of Peoples Temple, meeting at its Redwood Valley church, passed a resolution to establish a “Branch Church and Agricultural Mission” in Guyana. The resolution, which begins on page 2 of the minutes of the October 8 meeting, outlines the tasks for the rural mission, ranging from establishing bank accounts and negotiating with government officials in Guyana, to purchasing machinery, buying land, and planting crops.
The resolution also gives several reasons for the selection of Guyana: its proximity to the U.S.; its English-speaking population; its economy as a “so-called underdeveloped nation”; and its policies to encourage agricultural developments such as that anticipated by Peoples Temple.
The resolution outlines the establishment of bank accounts in Guyana, and designates the six persons with access to them: Jim and Marceline Jones; Archie J. Ijames; Timothy O. Stoen; Eugene B. Chaikin; and Carolyn M. Layton.
Guyana was not the only nation which the Temple approached to establish a mission. Jim Jones discussed the possibility of relocating to nations in the Caribbean – notably Cuba – but the only other country with which the Temple apparently had serious negotiations was the island of Grenada in the early 1970s. It shared many attributes of Guyana – it is even closer to the U.S. than Grenada, the national language is English, it considered itself a socialist democracy – and its population had the additional attraction of being majority black. Guyana prevailed as the choice, however, in part because of mutually-beneficial arrangements between the Temple and the government of Forbes Burnham, and in part because Grenada had other interests which ultimately discouraged the Temple from pursuing the agricultural mission there.