Serial 1986

FBI Airtel

Date 2/27/79

TO: DIRECTOR, FBI (89-4286)
FROM: SAC, WFO (89-570) (P)
RYMUR

Re SF teletype to Bureau and WFO dated 1/26/79, and WFO teletype to Bureau and San Francisco dated 1/29/79.

Enclosed for the Bureau are two copies of an FD 302 reflecting interview of George Berdes. The original and two copies of the aforementioned 302 are enclosed for the San Francisco division. Also enclosed for San Francisco is the original and two copies of an FD 302 reflecting transportation of evidence to FBIHQ on 1/30/79.

With regard to the lead set forth in re San Francisco teletype to contact each member of the HIRC [House International Relations Committee] and their aides and obtain any documents they may have concerning the HIRC’s investigation of the Peoples Temple, WFO contacted the Administrative Aide for Congressman Clement J. Zablocki, Chairman, House International Relations Committee, (HIRC) and was advised to contact George Berdes of the Committee staff. Berdes was contacted and an appointment was made for 2/14/79.

Berdes indicated during this interview that at least 60 Congressmen and Senators received information about the Peoples Temple primarily regarding the Stoen matter. At the time of Congressman Ryan’s trip to Jonestown, Guyana, there were 37 members on the HIRC. Berdes indicated that, in his opinion, the best way to solicit information from the committee members and other members of Congress who

[Page 2]
WFO 89-570

may have received information regarding the Peoples Temple would be to send a letter to each member of Congress advising them of the Bureau’s investigative interest in the death of Congressman Ryan and a desire to receive any information the Representatives or Senators might desire to furnish to the FBI. It would also be appropriate to advise Chairman Zablocki of the fact that such a letter was being sent. Berdes recommended this over personal contact with individual Congressmen and Senators primarily since some information available to Representatives and Senators might be of a confidential nature and would probably not be made available to the FBI.

WFO feels that a letter from the Director to each Senator and Representative signed by the Director would be more appropriate than a letter from WFO.

REQUEST OF THE BUREAU

The Bureau is requested to consider drafting a letter from FBIHQ, providing Congressman with the opportunity to furnish information they may have regarding the Peoples Temple to either FBIHQ or the Washington Field Office, as designated by Headquarters. It is noted that WFO has already received information from the offices of Congressman Ottinger (Democrat New York) and Congressman Neal (North Carolina).

[Page 3]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 2/26/79

George Berdes, House International Relations Committee (HIRC), Room 2170, the Rayburn House Office Building, furnished the following information:

The investigation of the HIRC into the Jonestown, Guyana, incident on November 18, 1978, was initiated on November 24, 1978, and is classified at the present time. In checking with the committee, he has been advised that this information could not be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at this time, however, a copy of the report, made public before the HIRC at a later date, could be obtained by the FBI. He noted that there are requests in their investigation, to this point, by certain individuals for confidentiality.

The only contacts the committee had with the Peoples Temple and the Jonestown settlement at Guyana were in early 1978 when Marceline Jones visited the Capital and contacted the House International Relations Subcommittee on Latin American Affairs about the Stoen matter. She left a letter from Charles Garry with the Subcommittee which contained [information] about the legal aspects of the Stoen custody matter. All of the committee members who were contacted at that time were contacted only in reference to the Stoen custody matter.

Correspondence in possession of the committee relating to Congressman Leo J. Ryan’s trip to Jonestown, Guyana, contains a letter from Congressman Ryan to the Chairman, Clement J. Zablocki, requesting permission to make the trip and a letter from the Chairman to Congressman Ryan giving permission to take the trip and asking him to take a minority member of the committee, and a letter from Congressman Ryan asking to take a HIRC Staff Aide which was granted and Jim Schollaert was assigned.

There were no full committee investigations into the Peoples Temple or Subcommittee investigations into the Peoples Temple prior to Congressman Ryan’s departure for Jonestown, Guyana. Jim Schollaert and Jackie Spier [Speier], who was

WFO 89-570
2

a Staff Aide for Congressman Ryan, would have information dealing with the arrangements through the Department of State for the trip to Jonestown, Guyana, of Congressman Ryan.

He is aware that approximately 60 representatives and Congressmen have been contacted at some point in the past regarding the Peoples Temple, most of these having to do with the Stoen custody case, and many of these names would appear in the documents furnished by the Department of State. To his knowledge, all of these were handled as congressional inquiries to the Department of State.

[Pages 5 and 6 are duplicates of pages 3 and 4.]

Originally posted on August 6th, 2020.

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