Peoples Temple Statement of May 12, 1978
May 13, 1978
Greetings to you from Rev. and Mrs. Jones and the members of Peoples Temple both in Guyana and in the United States. We wanted to share with you some very significant good news which we have just received.
The U.S. ambassador to Guyana and several representatives from the U.S. State Department had made an official report to document their findings upon several visits to the Peoples Temple Agricultural Mission in Guyana. The State Department has in effect refuted every one of the charges made against the Temple and Rev. Jones by the so-called “Concerned Relatives”, including Timothy Stoen and a handful of detractors.
That report is documented in the press release which we have prepared for the media and shared with you herein. The reaction of all the State Department visitors to Jonestown: extremely impressed: with the seal of approval by the U.S. Department of State concerning the well-being and happiness of the people there, the provocative and purely disruptive nature of Mr. Stoen’s and the “Concerned Relatives” activities – those who continue to cause harassment and charge that the residents of Jonestown are held there against their will – is conclusively revealed.
Many relatives have been visiting their loved ones overseas. A Superintendent of the Methodist Church is there visiting right now. Over 35 guests a day, officials from Guyana and around the world, are paying visits. Their comments, a few of them, are included for you on the back page. There is no doubt that the accomplishments of this model community are highly significant.
We send you warm regards and look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your interest and continued support.
Andrew M. Silver
For immediate release
US GOVERNMENT REFUTES CHARGES AGAINST PEOPLES TEMPLE
The U.S. Department of State has officially refuted the charges leveled by a small group of protesting relatives regarding the work of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, Jonestown, in Guyana, South America.
An official State Department report, based upon on-site visits to the project in Guyana states: “As part of the traditional and internationally sanctioned protection services, officers of the American Embassy in Georgetwon [Georgetown], Guyana, periodically visit the People’s Agricultural Temple [Peoples Temple Agricultural Project] located at Jonestown, Guyana. These officers have been free to move about the grounds and speak privately to any individuals, including persons who were believed by their family and friends to be held against their will.”
The report goes on to state, “It is the opinion of these officers, reinforced by conversations with local officials who deal with the Peoples Temple, that it is improbable anyone is being held in bondage. In general, people appear healthy, adequately fed and housed and satisfied with their lives on what is a large farm.”
Jonestown, a community of 1500 residents, regularly hosts other leading officials of the American and Guyanese governments, as well as prominent doctors, educators, and representatives from world-renowned news agencies. The statement of an American doctor, who heads a medical network of nearly a thousand physicians and specialists was: “It’s mind-boggling to see how you have carved out of the jungle a community that looks just like one in the U.S. and with all the public utilities.” One of several Ministers of the Guyanese Cabinet who have visited called it a stunning example of cooperation and love. The Chairman of the Guyanese Livestock Corporation, a veterinarian who has traveled and studied world-wide, said: “the community is the purest form of cooperative living I have ever seen.” Dr. De Costa, a dentist from India who founded a dental school he heads in Guyana, said the health care in Johnstown is fantastic. As an example, he said he found only two cavities after examining eighty children. He said that is unheard of.
Contrary to false reports, relatives of residents of Jonestown continue to visit and are made welcome. A Methodist Superintendent and his wife who have two grown children in Guyana are visiting presently. Just returned from Guyana is a professional nurse, Mrs. Davis, whose daughter lives on the Project. Mrs. Davis is not affiliated with the Peoples Temple in any way.
She issued the following statement on her return: “I first saw Jonestown, South America on Sunday night April 23, 1978, and I was amazed. To see it, is to believe. To see that people can work and live together, and build such a beautiful town out of what was nothing but jungle. I saw that this town had unity, love for their fellow person and equality for all. To see children laughing, running and playing with no fear or danger for their lives. I saw the work and love that is being put into this new town. The schools, nursery, medical and nursing care was being given to one and all. Even senior citizens have a great part in this new town. They are not cast aside to sit and die, but to help teach the younger their knowledge and know-how that they have.
“Jonestown is something that one must see to appreciate and to know and understand what the people are doing. It is really hard to put on paper what my eyes have seen. So I suggest before anyone makes judgment, they should try to see for themselves. Thanks to Jim Jones and his wife, I was welcome.”
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Charge D’Affaires, new assistant to the U.N. Ambassador, Andrew Young: “I am impressed.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana: “Peace and love in action.”
Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Works and Transportation, Guyana: “a wonderful experience, a model village community to be emulated.”
Head and one of the original members of the MARCO Medical Net (USA): “Incredible, fantastic.”
Thirty-five schoolteachers from the McKenzie District, Guyana: “This is fantastic, beyond one’s imagination, miraculous, beautiful, a truly example of cooperative living.”
Officer in Charge of Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago, U.S. State Department: “Impressive work.”
A writer from one of the largest news agencies in the world: “It is very, very impressive. Thank you for this opportunity, and best wishes.”
Head of the Guyana Livestock Corporation, and doctor of veterinary medicine: “The purest form of egalitarian society I have ever seen.”
British High Commissioner: “a most impressive start and I wish you all success.”
Minister of Education, Guyana: “Very impressive.” (The Ministry of Education has accredited all the Jonestown school programs.)
Head Dental Instructor, University of Guyana: “Excellent Community Project.”