Serial 1366

[Editor’s note: Several of the subjects whose names are deleted in this serial are known to the editor. Those notations have been indicated by red type.]

Department of State
Washington, DC 20520

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE

December 14, 1978

MEMORANDUM

To: Mr. Alfred K. Nicholas
Liaison Officer
Federal Bureau of Investigation

From: Michael E. Coughlin, Chief
Special Assignments Staff
Office of Security

Subject: Peoples Temple Investigation – James Cobb

In FBI Report of Investigation, date-time group 21 1752 November 1978, Cobb provided hearsay allegations concerning the misconduct of [name deleted] [Richard McCoy], a Consular Officer at Georgetown, Guyana. This office would be grateful if FBI representatives could interview Cobb again with the specific purpose of eliciting the following information:

1. What was the source in the original allegation against [McCoy]?

2. Did he have any firsthand knowledge or evidence of any misconduct on [McCoy]’s part?

3. Does he know of any other Peoples Temple members who may have firsthand knowledge of misconduct, including the original allegation of a sexual liaison between [McCoy] and Paula Adams?

This office is most interested in following up on the information provided with a view toward locating any firsthand substantive sources.

To date our investigation has found no evidence of misconduct on [McCoy]’s part. For your information I am enclosing copies of [McCoy]’s sworn statement, the sworn statement of Paula Adams, and the investigative report prepared by an officer of this staff who interviewed Paula Adams in Georgetown on December 9.

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE

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Washington, DC

Personally appeared before me this 22 day of Nov, 1978, [Richard McCoy] who first being duly sworn deposes and says:

My name is [Richard McCoy]. I was born [date and place deleted]. I am currently an [occupation deleted]. I was assigned to the American Embassy Georgetown, Guyana from August 29, 1976 to August 5, 1978 as [title deleted] Consular Section. As the [title deleted], my duties brought me into frequent contact with members of the People’s Temple after August, 1977. Beginning with this period of, the Embassy began to receive information pertaining to alleged maltreatment of People’s Temple members in Jonestown, the site of their agricultural community. Moreover, a child custody case involving a child with the People’s Temple also occurred. As result, People’s Temple representatives in Georgetown (always two or three in number) would call frequently at my office to discuss these cases to attempt to convince me of their organization’s innocence. During these meetings the Temple representatives always impugned the character and integrity of those opposed to them. This character assassination ranged from incest to transvestitism. The Temple members that I saw most frequently were Sharon Amos, [name deleted], Mike Prokes, Maria Katsaris and Terri [Terry] Jones. I saw [name deleted] and Paula Adams less frequently. Later for about six weeks, Deborah Blakey became a frequent visitor until the time of her departure from Guyana on May 14, 1978.

At no time did I ever see any of the above individuals socially or alone or in fact any member of the organization alone. I have never made any sexual advances toward any female while I was in Guyana. And while no specific sexual advances were ever made by any female toward me, I was very much aware that sexual entrapment was a technique utilized by the People’s Temple to compromise individuals.

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James Mentore, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Chief of Special Branch) and I had conversed on this subject and he informed me that Paula Adams and several other female People’s Temple representatives had sexual affairs with Guyanese officials. [1/2 line deleted] also informed me that Paula Adams was one of the organization’s “femme fatales” who was under orders to have affairs with GOG [Government of Guyana] officials. [Timothy Stoen] was Jones’ formal legal adviser and [Grace Stoen] was a member of the inner circle until she left the organization. They were involved in a child custody case against the Temple and Georgetown.) From information received concerning statements made by former members of the Temple I was fully aware that sexual entrapment attempt might be tried on me. I was very careful never to put myself in a situation that could be construed as a compromising position. When Temple female representatives came to my office, my door was left open and my secretary was instructed to enter at odd moments to prevent any attempts to inveigle me into an embarrassing position.

Toward the end of my tour (from May to August 1978) I always have a Vice-Consul sit with me during the meetings primarily because I was concerned that our conversations with the Temple representatives were being taped by them. In this connection, Mrs. Blakey on May 14, 1978 informed me that heretofore Temple representatives had not, to her knowledge, been taping our conversations. She warned me that they would begin since they wanted to have me make statements that could later prove embarrassing to me personally or to the United States.

To reiterate, I categorically deny that I have ever had a sexual affair with Paula Adams or any female representative of the People’s Temple, past or present. In addition, I don’t believe that I engaged in any activities that could be construed as a romantic interest in, or sexual involvement with, a female or male member of the People’s Temple.

The allegation that Mr. Cobb has made that Ms. Adams has tapes portraying sexual liaison between myself and her is completely false. There could absolutely be no true tape with this kind of scenario.

I am convinced that Cobb’s allegations are part of a ploy by Jim Jones (former head of the People’s Temple) to influence his followers not to expect any support from me, especially after Mrs. Blakey left the Temple. As a result of this incident, I think that Jones may have been concerned that I was influencing members of his organization. Thus I began to represent a threat to the People’s Temple.

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I was involved or engaged in no activities in Guyana or elsewhere which the People’s Temple or any other organization could use in an effort to exploit or coerce me.

This statement is made of my own free will and accord without promises of immunity having been made to me and without any threats, force or coercion being used against me. I made this statement with a desire of assisting the Department of State in its investigation.

Signed: [blank line]

Subscribed and sworn to before me this [blank line] day of [blank line], 1978.

Signed: [blank line]
Special Agent
Office of Security
Department of State

Witness: [blank line]

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Office of Security

Title [name deleted]
Case Classification: 1A12.10
Field Office:A/SY/SAS/SI
Date Reported: 12/14/78
Dates Investigated: 12/9-10/78
Reporting Agent: James W. Lannon

Synopsis: Paula Jean Adams, a People’s Temple member, was interviewed in Georgetown, Guyana on December 10, 1978 relative to the allegation attributed to James Cobb that Adams engaged in a sexual liaison with former U.S. Consul [Richard McCoy] and made tape recordings of their sexual activities for the purposes of compromising [McCoy]. Adams categorically denies the allegations and provided a signed affidavit to that effect.

– PENDING –

REF: Oral instructions from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Security

Details: On December 10, 1978, Miss Paula Jean Adams was interviewed at the United States Consulate, Georgetown, Guyana by the reporting officer. Miss Nancy Mason, American Vice-Consul acted as a witness. It should be noted that Paula Adams agreed to the interview on the basis that questions would be strictly limited to an investigation of allegations of misconduct on the part of a Department of State employee. She indicated she would not answer questions outside the scope of such an inquiry. It should be noted that Adams requested to meet with her Guyanese attorney prior to consenting to the interview.

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The interview commenced at 9:25 AM and terminated at 10:50 PM. Miss Adams was advised of the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 and did not request confidentiality. She did state that while the results of the interview might be used to refute the allegations against [Richard McCoy], she specifically requested that her name not be released to the press under any circumstances.

Miss Adams advised that she was born on January 3, 1949 at Pendleton, Oregon. She reported that she initially traveled to Guyana on January 3, 1974 and has returned to the United States on three separate occasions for a period of two to three weeks duration in 1975, 1977 and 1978 respectively (exact dates unrecalled although passport should indicate departures and arrivals). She advised she presently has no permanent residence in the United States and resides at 41 Dennis St., Lamaha Gardens, Georgetown, Guyana.

Miss Adams was advised that allegations have been made that she had participated in a sexual liaison with Consul [Richard McCoy] and had reportedly taped their activities with the intent to use such tapes for the purpose of compromising [McCoy]. Miss Adams expressed what appeared to be genuine surprise and promptly denied that such allegations were true. She reported that she was aware that allegations have been made that she had “been the mistress of practically everyone in Georgetown.” Adams commented that she could not deny engaging in relations with men. She started to comment and when she discovered that she was starting to provide information relative to such actions, indicated that she had no intention of commenting further. She did, however, again repeat her initial denial that she had never participated in sexual activity with [Richard McCoy].

When questioned as to the nature of her contact with [McCoy], Adams related that she had seen [McCoy] on approximately six or seven occasions in his office at the Consulate. She remarked that she had seen [Richard McCoy] only on one occasion in his office since February of last year (1977). She was unable to recall any specific date and in an attempt to reconstruct a timeframe, indicated that the meeting would have occurred sometime between late August and November. Adams reported that she had never met with [McCoy] alone as it was not People’s Temple procedure to meet on a one-to-one basis. She advised that she had never, under any circumstances, met [Richard McCoy] alone outside of his office at the Consulate. She did say that she had seen him on at least one occasion out at Jonestown and had talked with him there but there were always others present.

Adams revealed she had recently been questioned by members of the press relative to rumors and allegations that she was tape recording her sexual liaisons and using the tapes to blackmail the men involved. She advised that she was initially interviewed

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by an Associated Press reporter (name unrecalled) and categorically denied the allegations/rumors. Adams remarked she had also been approached by New York Times reporter Joe Treaster (phonetic) who indicated he wish to question her concerning the specifics of a personal relationship. Miss Adams indicated that she had indicated to Treaster that she didn’t wish to talk to him. Adams reported Treaster approached her on Wednesday, December 6, 1978 the first day of her release from house arrest. She reported that at no time has she been questioned by members of the press regarding allegations of sexual relations with [Richard McCoy]. Asked if she or other People’s Temple members have made any tapes of conversations they may have had with [Richard McCoy], Adams remarked that neither she or any other member of the People’s Temple, to the best of her knowledge, had made any tapes of conversations with [McCoy]. She remarked that she always felt that [McCoy] had made tapes of the meetings in his office.

Adams, when asked if she could account for the mention of [Richard McCoy]’s name and her name in conjunction with a tape, asked if the reporting officer was referring to the Katsaris tape. Adams reported that Maria Katsaris had made allegations against her father, Stephen, indicating that her father had molested her sexually and as a result, Maria did not wish to depart Jonestown to return to live in the same house with her father. According to Adams, Maria Katsaris dictated a tape cassette outlining her history with her father and then requested Adams to take the tape to [Richard McCoy] at the Consulate. Adams indicated that she listened to the tape once prior to taking it to [McCoy] where she played it in his presence. When questioned if she went to [McCoy]’s office alone, Adams indicated that she was accompanied by Karen Layton. Adams indicated that she did not know whether a molestation had in fact occurred, however, she commented that the tape made by Maria Katsaris was a convincing one. Adams reported that Mr. Stephen Katsaris came to Jonestown in October, 1978 [September 1977] in an attempt to see his daughter and was denied entry. As a result, he returned to Washington where he spoke with State Department officials and then made contact with Congressional officials and Guyanese officials at the Guyanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Adams related that Ambassador Mann, Guyanese Ambassador to the United States, invited Mr. Katsaris back to Guyana indicating that he would make it possible for Mr. Katsaris to see his daughter, Maria. According to Adams, Stephen Katsaris returned to Jonestown in November, 1978 [1977] at which time he had a meeting with his daughter. Adams related that Mr. Katsaris returned to San Francisco unaccompanied by his daughter and subsequently filed a lawsuit charging Paula Adams with slander. Adams indicated she later learned that [McCoy] reportedly told Steve Katsaris that she had made a statement to [McCoy] indicating that Katsaris had molested his daughter. Miss Adams emphatically denied that she ever made such a statement and her involvement was limited to taking the tape made by Maria Katsaris to [Richard McCoy] at Maria’s specific request. Adams was again questioned as to whether she had

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participated in the making of any tapes for any reason and stated categorically that she had never made any tapes and to the best of her knowledge, none were made by other People’s Temple members in connection with her contacts with [Richard McCoy] or other officials of the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown. She remarked that there was no tape recorder in the possession of the People’s Temple members in Georgetown that worked. She commented that if any tapes have been made they must have been made by others for the sole purpose of a clearer understanding as to what had transpired at a particular meeting.

Miss Adams was requested to describe the relationship between [McCoy] and the People’s Temple group. She reported that [McCoy] was always suspect. According to Adams, Sharon Amos was the principal contact on the People’s Temple group with [McCoy]. Adams stated that all members of the People’s Temple were required by Jim Jones to submit reports of their meetings with outsiders. Amos was required to submit such written reports and according to Adams, frequently these reports were gross misrepresentations as to what had actually occurred at any particular meeting. She explained that Amos continually strived to look good to Jim Jones and as a result, would frequently describe what her strategy had been or what she was attempting to accomplish at these meetings rather than the facts of what had actually transpired. According to Adams, Amos would then interject the names of those in attendance as well as minute details of portions of the discussion in an attempt to add credibility to these reports. Adams commented that she felt the letters and reports that had been quoted in the newspaper articles that she had seen were out of context with the events that had actually occurred in some of these meetings where she had been present. Adams admitted that she did not hit it off with Amos and it was clear from her comments during the course of the interview that there was a personality conflict as well as a possible power struggle for position between Amos and Adams. When asked to identify others the mayhem accompanied her and Sharon Amos during these meetings with [McCoy] or other Embassy officials, Adams identified [name deleted]. Adams stated that [name deleted] also made the required reports to the Rev. Jim Jones. She emphasized that Jones asked for individual feedback on every meeting that transpired. Adams indicated that each individual present from the People’s Temple Group would write an individual report and reports were not to be discussed among those who had attended. She advised that those members of the People’s Temple in attendance would discuss the overall results of the meeting, but would not discuss specific details as the reports were intended to reflect the individual interpretations of those present to the Rev. Jim Jones. The idea being, according to Adams, the Jones would then have a clearer picture of what had actually transpired.

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When asked to describe [Richard McCoy]’s trips to Jonestown, Adams remarked that contrary to press reports when [McCoy] first started visiting the settlement, he did not give lists of names of those with whom he wished to speak to anyone. She advised that he came to Jonestown unannounced. She complained that one of [McCoy]’s tactics was to call individuals over to his car and when they were inside his car, were asked if they were being restrained and wished to leave. She indicated that as a result of these attempts to elicit information from individual members unaccompanied by other members of the group, that the People’s Temple would not let [McCoy] talk to anyone unless he provided a list of names first. Adams commented that the individuals on [McCoy]’s lists were frequently “Social Security cases” and cases generated by the concern of relatives. She commented that those on [McCoy]’s lists were never the ones that wished to leave Jonestown but were the ones who were happy residing there. When asked if she had ever met with [McCoy] in Jonestown on a one-to-one basis, Adams categorically denied seeing [McCoy] alone in Jonestown on any occasion. She commented that it was her recollection that she only saw him once in Jonestown sometime between February and June, 1978.

When asked if any member of the People’s Temple met with [McCoy] without others being present, Adams immediately named Maria Katsaris. She indicated that Katsaris met with [McCoy] alone, without being accompanied by People’s Temple members, on several occasions with the sole purpose being to show [McCoy] that Katsaris was free to move about and was not under any constraints nor being held against her will in Jonestown. Adams insisted that in fact was the case and that Katsaris had not been prevented from leaving Jonestown had she decided to do so. Adams speculated that the only other individual in the People’s Temple who had been allowed to be with [McCoy] alone was Sharon Amos. She described Amos as fanatically loyal to Jim Jones and as an individual who possessed an inflated image of herself. Adams indicated that Amos was fanatically loyal to the man and not to the principles of the People’s Temple. She indicated that it was possible that Amos may have been allowed to go to the Consulate on her own to check on various questions that had been raised by the People’s Temple with [McCoy] as a U.S. Consular Officer.

Adams indicated that just prior to [McCoy]’s departure from Georgetown there was a meeting in [McCoy]’s office at which she was present. [McCoy] indicated to the People’s Temple members that rumors had been circulating that the People’s Temple was preparing to bomb the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown. People’s Temple members present at the meeting indicated that the allegations were entirely false and an attempt to discredit the People’s Temple. Adams commented that shortly after [McCoy] departed she received information from an American who had attended some cocktail parties in Georgetown that [McCoy] had been saying that the People’s Temple was planning to bomb the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown. Miss Adams indicated that from

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this experience she thought that [McCoy] spoke out of both sides of his mouth and was not to be trusted. She advised that it was her opinion that the only reason [McCoy] did not want to be openly hostile was that he felt relations with the People’s Temple in Jonestown would be immediately severed. Adams remarked that she feels that the present contacts in the press were an effort to make the People’s Temple look worse by attempting to create an aura of intrigue and conspiracy. She further remarked that many of the relatives of People’s Temple members no doubt hostile towards [Richard McCoy] because “He didn’t go into Jonestown and pull them out by their hair”.

Miss Adams indicated that the People’s Temple had made a decision that they would not talk further with the press due to the pending Grand Jury action in Georgetown as well as his misrepresentation of their statements in the published articles they had gained access to. She volunteered that they had also learned on Thursday, December 7 that the FBI was picking up the reporters and interviewing them upon their return to New York City from Georgetown. She stated that she further felt when a number of people in the People’s Temple who might have cooperating would now be closed mouth due to the fact that they would not know what effect any discussions they might voluntarily enter into would have on their future well being.

Miss Adams again categorically denied that she had ever had any time engaged in sexual activity with [Richard McCoy]. She vowed that she had not taped any conversations with [McCoy] and that to the best of her knowledge indicated that there were no tapes made of any meetings or conversations with [Richard McCoy]. She indicated her willingness to execute a sworn statement denying the allegations that have been made. She reiterated that it was her opinion that the People’s Temple relationship with [Richard McCoy] was one of mistrust and strained while not openly hostile.

Originally posted on July 15th, 2020.

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