Serial 1373

[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.]

FBI Airtel

Date 12/11/78

TO: DIRECTOR, FBI (89-4286)
Attention: RYMUR Command Post
FROM: SAC, MIAMI (89-179) (P)
SUBJECT: RYMUR (A)

Re Miami teletype to Bureau, 12/8/78.

Enclosed for the Bureau are two copies each of three FD-302s re reflecting:

1. An interview with [name deleted] [Walter Thain] at Boca Raton, Florida.

2. Photographs taken of three People’s Temple (PT) members arriving at Miami.

3. Items in possession of [name deleted] upon his return to the United States.

Enclosed for San Francisco on the originals and two copies each of the above FD-302s and original interview notes from interview with [Thain] and description of items from [name deleted].

[Page 2]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/6/78

[2 lines of identifying information about Temple survivor Johnny Franklin deleted] was interviewed at his arrival to Miami International Airport from Georgetown, Guyana, South America. He was advised as to the identity of the interviewing Agent as well as the nature of the interview. [ Johnny Franklin] voluntarily furnished the following items for examination by the interviewing Agent:

One sunglass case;
One box of matches;
One pack of Marlboro cigarettes (opened);
One pack of Camel cigarettes (closed);
One black billfold (man’s);
One yellow slip of paper (torn notebook type), with the following name and address: Mr. [Name deleted], Hospital Housekeeping, Room M-71, UCSF, San Francisco, California 94143;
One yellow slip of paper (torn notebook type), with the following information written on it:

FM
69251-5
DET. PM 68808
60518;

One United States Passport, number J2144990;
One currency declaration form for incoming passengers to Guyana dated June 21, 1978;
One airplane ticket from Guyana Airways;
One pocket calendar (blue checkbook type), the calendar contained the following information and addresses:

[several lines deleted]

The Human Freedom Center, [names deleted], 3028 Regent Street, Berkeley, California, 94705, 415-848-1773.

[Page 3]

MM89-179
2.

[Name deleted], Seafield Village W.C.B., Guyana, S.A.
[Name deleted], “P” Division, H.Q. Eve Learey, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana, 1026 Goettingen Street, San Francisco, California, 94134, [several lines of information deleted]
U.M. Medical Center, Third Pernassus Avenue, Housekeeping Department, M 71, San Francisco, California, [telephone number deleted]

Also included in that calendar was the following statement:

“Nov. 19, 1978 at 9 AM. Things wasn’t going right by my understanding. It were some killing going on while I left, my wife and children were left behind until I got back to the U.S. Shooting that so bad that peoples had to run into the woods with there [their] children to save there [their] lives, because that is one day we all will never forget. Jim Jones always say to us.”;

One calling card in the name of Hardat A.S. Sukhdeo, M.S. Chief of Psychiatry Deputy Chairman Clinical Services, College of Medicine and Dentistry of N.J., 65 Bergen Street, Newark, NJ 07107 (201-643-5057; 643-4891;

One Social Security Account Number Card;
One small plastic covered card of Oakland Senior High School Diploma;
Two Park Hotel receipts for food;

[Page 4]

MM89-179
3.

One photocopy California Driver’s License;
One form Special Counselor Service;
One Blue Cross card, University of California;
One bank slip, Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., Georgetown Branch. The amount of US $70 was written on it and it was in the name of [deleted] care of Pegasus Hotel;
One slip of white paper containing the following information:

Authorized leave of absence from October 1, 1978 to December 31, 1978. Should return by January 2, 1979, signed Oscar Rodriguez;

One California Drivers License [number deleted]
One white printed handout Reality Therapy by William Glasser;
One color photo of black female child;
One Pan Am form card (blank);
One matchbook (socket type cover);
Two $1 Bank of Guyana notes;
15 coins Bank of Guyana;
One cents, five cents, ten cents, 25 cents.

[Page 5]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/8/78

On December 5, 1978, Special Agent (SA) [name deleted], Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami, Florida, photographed three individuals identified as:

Robert Bob Paul
Johnny Franklin, Sr.
Richard Clark

The photographs were taken at the United States Customs’ area, Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida.

The three individuals had just arrived from Georgetown, Guyana.

The photographs were in color and were taken with a Polaroid camera and a Topcon 35mm camera using Kodacolor 400, 35mm film.

[Page 6]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/8/78

Walter Howe Thain, Cytotechnologist, home address 2401 N.E. 5th Avenue, Boca Raton, Florida, was interviewed at his place of employment, the Ayre Cell Biology Center, Incorporated, 170 W. Spanish River Boulevard, Boca Raton, Florida, telephone number 392-6622 and furnished the following information:

Walter Howe Thain is the treasurer and corresponding secretary for the Pan-American Cancer Cytology Society. He works approximately four hours per day and his work entails the study of body cells to determine early signs of cancer. Mr. Thain was instrumental in initiating a pilot program for the early detection of cervical cancer in Venezuela.

In addition to his medical experience, Walter Thain is a ham radio operator and his call letters are WB4KKB. Mr. Thain is a member of the Medical Amateur Radio Counsel (MARCO). This organization has approximately 1000 members and consists of licensed operators in the field of medicine. Once a week Mr. Thain monitors a special medical frequency and takes emergency medical calls.

On February 3, 1978, at approximately 9 PM or 10 PM, Mr. Thain was monitoring this special frequency when he heard an emergency call from Guyana requesting assistance on a multiple birth situation. The caller from Guyana stated that he had a female patient in labor over 16 hours and the caller needed assistance for the delivery. The caller from Guyana was Dr. Lawrence Schact [Laurence Schacht], a pediatrician. The ham radio operator in Guyana was Al Touchette. Mr. Thain assisted the caller from Guyana by “patching through” an obstetrician and an anesthesiologist in the United States to Dr. Lawrence Schact in Guyana. Mr. Thain stood by and monitored and taped all conversation on the evening of February 3, 1978 which had to do with the delivery of the twins in Guyana. The tape lasted approximately five hours. Mr. Thain called Guyana the next day and the prognosis from Guyana was good in that twin girls 6 1/2 pounds each had been born and the operation was highly successful.

[Page 7]

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2.

By letter dated January 15, 1978, Dr. José M. Da’Costa, dental surgeon and orthodontist, 75 SEC. “M” Camp Bellville, telephone number 02-61507 an employment address of Practitioner’s Medical Center, 132 Carmichael Street, C/BURG, Georgetown, telephone 02-65356, requested that Mr. Thain come to Guyana and assist the people in Guyana initiating a pilot program for screening the mass population of Guyana for the early detection of cervical cancer. This pilot program would be similar to the one which Mr. Thain initiated in Venezuela several years ago.

Mr. Thain explained that he had to go to Caracas, Venezuela around May 10, 1978 and decided to go ahead and go to Guyana as requested by Dr. Da’Costa. In addition, Dr. Schact had asked Mr. Thain to come to Georgetown to see the babies which had been delivered on February 3, 1978.

Accordingly, about May 10, 1978, Mr. Thain traveled to Venezuela and then went to Guyana. When he arrived in Guyana at Georgetown, Mr. Thain received a “VIP” treatment. His baggage was loaded into a limousine and then was taken to an airport where he was flown into the jungle to Matthews Ridge, which is the last outpost in the Northwest region of Guyana. At Matthews Ridge Mr. Thain got off the airplane and was taken by a Land Rover to Jonestown. He was traveling from Georgetown to Jonestown with Dr. José M. Da’Costa, Dr. Da’Costa’s wife and daughter, and a former CBS correspondent, Mike (Last Name Unknown) [likely Prokes]. Mr. Thain went deep into the jungle to the mission village of the People’s Temple, which was called Jonestown. Jonestown was named after the head of the community at Jonestown, Bishop Jim Jones. When Mr. Thain arrived at Jonestown, he met with Jim Jones and signed the guest register located at the guesthouse in Jonestown. He was assigned a cottage to live in

[Page 8]

MM89-179
3.

with Mike (Last Name Unknown) who was a former CBS correspondent.

Mr. Thain spent approximately four days in Jonestown and was given a tour of the community of Jonestown. He stated it was a utopia consisting of beautiful gardens and white picket fences. He said everything was neat and clean. He observed a great deal of heavy equipment including tractors, caterpillars and road building equipment. He recalled, however, that there was no telephone service in the community and all communication was conducted by CB radios.

While in Jonestown, Mr. Thain lectured to Dr. Lawrence Schact regarding the pilot program for screening the mass female population for the detection of cervical cancer. Mr. Thain described Dr. Schact as a knowledgeable and competent doctor. He also lectured to Dr. Schact’s staff regarding Pap smears.

He personally spoke with Bishop Jim Jones on six or seven occasions while in Jonestown and spoke to him regarding the community at Jonestown. Jones told him that the community consisted of about 1700 Americans and about 200 people from Guyana. Jones also showed him that there was a great deal of training for schoolchildren at Jonestown. Mr. Thain stated that neither Jim Jones nor the people of Jonestown appeared to be “religious fanatics”. During his stay at Jonestown, Mr. Thain heard very few prayers and observed no worship services. He also stated there were no gods or idols at Jonestown.

[Page 9]

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4.

Mr. Thain stated he did not have any specific knowledge of trouble of any type during Congressman Ryan’s visit to Guyana nor did he have any specific knowledge of the acquisition, licensing or shipment of weapons by the People’s Temple to Guyana. Mr. Thain also stated he did not have any specific knowledge of any firearms training received by People’s Temple members nor did he have any direct knowledge of threats to harm any public officials or current or former People’s Temple members as a result of persons attempting to expose the People’s Temple, infiltrate the People’s Temple, or induce a member to leave the People’s Temple. During his stay at Jonestown, Mr. Thain observed no storing of money or weapons at Jonestown. He also stated he was unaware of any contingency plan including a suicide pact that might have been part of the People’s Temple community. He observed no guards or weapons in Jonestown and was free to visit every part of the community at will. On his tour of the mission village, he saw cattle, farmland, pig farms, a small 12 bed hospital and a pharmacy. He spoke with many young people of the community and generally they said that they had been in and out of jail and were happy to be in Jonestown and happy to be given “another chance”.

After his return from Guyana to the United States, he was sent copies of newspaper articles indicating possible unrest in Guyana by the president of MARCO, Dr. Donald E. Ore, DDS, [line deleted] and Post Office Box 161, Frossmore, Illinois, telephone number [deleted]. Mr. Thain indicated that Dr. Ore might possibly have additional information regarding unrest in Guyana.

Mr. Thain does not personally know any People’s Temple members or ex-People’s Temple members except the ones which he met in Guyana. He was able to furnish no specific names except Dr. Larry Schact but stated that he had received a great number of letters from People’s Temple members since his return to the United States. He said he had

[Page 10]

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5.

received about 300 letters and cards from persons who lived in Jonestown and would furnish all correspondence which he had in his possession to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Accordingly, he furnished a stack of letters banded by rubber band to SA [name deleted] and SA [name deleted] who entered [name deleted]’s office at this point in the interview. He also had approximately seven photographs which were labeled on the reverse and he also furnished these to SA [name deleted] and SA [name deleted]. Mr. Thain stated that sometime after September, 1978 he received a packet of literature from the People’s Temple of the Disciples of Christ, Post Office Box 15023, San Francisco, California. He furnished this packet of literature to SA [name deleted]. Mr. Thain also said that he had taped on his reel to reel recorder, the complete transmissions made with Guyana on the evening of February 3, 1978 regarding the delivery of the twins by Dr. Schact in Guyana. He stated that he would be willing to turn this tape over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but that he wished to allow [name deleted], an NBC news correspondent from Chicago, Illinois, to listen to this tape prior to turning it over to the authorities. He indicated that [name deleted] was to interview him on November 27, 1978. Mr. Thain will retain possession of the tape until such time as it is needed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

[Page 11]

MM89-179
6.

Mr. Thain described Bishop Jim Jones as follows:

Race White
Sex Male
Age 45 to 48 years
Height 5’11” to 6 feet
Hair Dark
Weight 150 to 160 pounds
Remarks Wore dark glasses, was handsome and in good physical shape, mild-mannered, well-educated and did not appear nervous.

Mr. Thain added that Mr. Jones resembled Elvis Presley.

The following information was obtained through interview and observation of Walter Howe Thain:

Race White
Sex Male
Date of Birth August 26, 1906
Place of Birth Boston, Massachusetts
Height 5’8″
Weight 120 pounds
Hair Gray
Eyes Gray-green
Home address 2401 NE. 5th Avenue, Boca Raton, Florida
Employment Ayre Cell Biology Center, Incorporated, 170 W. Spanish River Boulevard, Boca Raton, Florida
Education Honorary PhD degree from Central University, Venezuela in 1959 through 1962

 

[Page 12]

MM89-179
7.

Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles City College, 1940
In the U.S. Army for two years in World War II (Army Medical Corps)

Mr. Thain moved to Florida at the age of two and has maintained a permanent residence in the State of Florida ever since.

Originally posted on July 15th, 2020.

Last modified on November 30th, 2020.
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