Temple Raises Stoen Custody Issue, March 15

[Editor’s notes: The duplicate of this document, at G-1-h-3a – G-1-h-5, includes a page written by Sharon Amos which she said was “left out of the last writeup.” The duplicate is included in its entirety, with the additional page at the end of this PDF.

[The transcript of this document retains its original spellings, with corrections noted only where necessary for clarity.

[The names “Martin” and “Mark” which appear several times in this report are likely code names. Their identities are not yet known.]

[This document was duplicated at G-1-h-3a – 5.]


Meeting with Cde. [Comrade] Fedor Timofeyev USSR Embassy Thursday 15/3/78 [March 15, 1978] Debbie T [Touchette] and Sharon A [Amos]

I explained how Martin was a questioner and that’s why he asked the question yesterday/ he asked if Martin had read the book from the USSR he had given us and Martin had read part of it/ Martin said about J constantly talking about the stand of the USSR in helping other nations and now it’s even been willing to help Puerto Rico and Beleze [Belize] right under the US eyes [Handwritten marginal note: “Deb mentioned your disagreement w/ China’s forign policy”]

– Martin read the book while we talked and made a very interesting comment about how USSR had helped China in her fight against Japanese imperialism and then China turned against the USSR/ Timofeyev like this comment [Handwritten marginal note: “Deb felt Fedor was threatened by Martin”]

I showed him that article in the Soviet News Times and the letter of apogogy from New Times/ he said the man who was responsible will be “administratively punished” for not checking further before putting the original article in.

I gave him the background on Tim Stoen/ [Handwritten insertion: “showed him East German article”] he asked several questions/ he is an International Lawyer he said. He said that in the USSR they arrange for adoption of children when the parents aren’t taking proper care of the child. We told him that we had tried to get that arranged but Grace wouldn’t sign for it although she didn’t want John. He wondered about how John came here, if he had permission from the parents, if the immigration proceedure made him a citizen or a resident or what.  I explained that he is a legal resident and that he had legal permission from both parents. He said that was good but did see that wasn’t quite as good as if John was a citizen, and he wondered if PT gets a special arrangement for immigration or if it is the same as for others because if not, the special arrangement may not hold up as much. He hadnt’ heard about the court case. He said also when I told him that John had almost tried to commit suicide after he spent one day with his mother/ he asked if John did that during the time he was with his mother or right after/ I said right after which was a mistake because he said, “well a court might feel he was doing that because he missed his mother”

– I explained how John doesn’t even recognize Grace as his mother and how he is very sensitive and we talked about her locking him in the basement and having sex with this racist man etc. We stated to him that progressive pro-Soviet people in the US felt that the USSR Embassy would understand our position on this and how we felt if we gave up one, they’d start working in other cases, and explained the Oliver case etc.

– he saw the papers that Tim wrote about Grace, Grace wrote about Tim and the one Tim signed stating JJ was the father. He noted that the one Tim wrote about Grace wasn’t signed/ I explained it was just to give him background and that the case would be tried on improper proceedures at this time because the arrest order was improperly served and the initial affidavit etc was wrong. (He was quite surprised there was an arrest order on JJ)

– he did say he felt we were quite correct on our position regarding John (not giving him over)

– he had asked initially if JJ could get out to come to Georgetown so he could talk to him here


– he said it included several difficult questions but he would try to get back to us and answer them

– he asked for the paper for a minute to show the Ambassador, I said I wouldn’t want it copied and he said he wouldn’t do that. He took it upstairs to the Ambassador (the copy machine I think is downstairs)/ I was concerned about this and hope it was ok/ he brought it back a few minutes later [Handwritten marginal note: “he came back to the room w/out the paper, his Secretary brought it a few min later I do think it was photocopied.”]

– he said he wants to talk it over with his colleagues and with the Ambassador and then will give us some answers/ he said again the questions are very difficult to answer

– in regards to the Russian Orthodox Church, they are separate from the USSR govt. but they would ask the Russian Embassy their opinion if we



if we were to ask the Russian Orthodox church about becoming aligned with them. I explained that money has to go through church auspices because of the tax situation (donations from the US being non-taxable thru a church), he said he understood. He asked if we ever transferred money from the US to here/ I wanted to consult about this so I said I didn’t know but would let him know later but Debbie said we did do that.

Debbie mentioned to him that we would rather die than give up John. I should have told him we were not to say this as I had checked on that with Mark, but he didn’t respond to this in any negative way. [Handwritten marginal note: “Deb: Timofeyev said he agreed w/ our approach of not giving up the child”]

He wanted to know if John had his own passport or if John came in on someone else’s passport as he said children don’t always have a passport and tho I explained John came in legally and was legally processed thru immigration (I guess children are processed???? but some aren’t???), he felt this was important for the case.


– he said ??? that he thought it was next Sunday/ said he was sorry he missed it/ he said when I asked that it wasn’t because of the party for [US Embassy official] John Blacken because he said neither he nor the Cubans were invited to that [Handwritten marginal note: “Deb: I thought he was trying to cover for himself because assuring and ask why he had not come.”]


I asked him point blank if he was avoiding us/ he said no but he had checked with foreign Affairs and they didn’t seem too pleased with the idea (now that [former Foreign Affairs Minister Fred] Wills is gone), [Handwritten marginal note: “Timofeyev: asked us to send official invitations to the USSR Embassy inviting them to J/town.”] he said that when he asked about it he was asked several questions like “why do you want to go?” and “did they ask you?” He said his Embassy wants a chance to talk to [Guyana Foreign Minister Rashleigh] Jackson and feel him out as they don’t yet know his position, but he said that [US Embassy Consul Richard] McCoy came up to him and asked [Handwritten insertion: “who had been in Peoples Temple”], if they had been to Jonestown and they wondered why McCoy had done this. I told him we had been told that McCoy knew of our visit to the Russian Embassy and was probably feeling him out for info (because Wills had told us that the US had noticed us being there) [Handwritten marginal note: “Deb: We discussed that McCoy was very right wing & his sons were in military schools. Sharon said he was CIA. He said Wills thinks everyone is CIA. Timofeyev responded somewhat in defense of McCoy ‘If we looked at it that way, we’d say that a million Americans were CIA.’”]


– he said they all at the Embassy very much want to visit/ he said we are a unique phenomenon/ a new thing in the world that is unprecedented/ that if he had heard about a socialist group like ours in the US when he was in the USSR he wouldn’t have believed it was true – he said it is truly amazing JJ can take religious people and make them atheists because that is something USSR is having trouble with and they’d like to benefit from how JJ does it because he must be brilliant and if they could have people uses techniques it would be helpful

– I mentioned that JJ also wrote Errors in the Bible [“The Letter Killeth”] and we used to give them out/ he said USSR has analyzed every word in the Bible and have lots of books showing contradictions but it is more the one-to-one communication that is needed/ he said JJ is one working with 1000 in Jonestown and he has done it and in the USSR they have a one-one situation of one religious person to every atheist and they still can’t get it done [Handwritten marginal note: “He asked if Jim had written any theatrical books of his life. Go tell of his techniques with people”]

– he said Guyana might be jealous because of all our hard work and they don’t understand here how we do it, is it because of material investment like equipment or just hard work/ how do people committ themselves to such hard work and dedication. we talked about how if some who were wealthy and pooled their wealth with others as we have done in PT, you could buy equipment/ he said that’s very true

– he said that because of the shift (changing policies that are more pro-US), it was diffuclt in terms of answering our questions but they would do anything they could to help us

– I mentioned Peter Fernanz [Fernandez, head of Guyana Livestock Board] and what he said about us being the purest form of socialism he’s seen and Timofeyev said “very good”




– I mentioned that we hoped with this diplomatic situation that they won’t stay away since we have tried to model ourselves as much as we could after the USSR and we had to do it alone both in the US and in Guyana and if they were standing off from us that would hurt us very badly/ he said they very much wanted to come but would have to work this out with Jackson


– I asked why we hadn’t been able to meet their ambassador because they had told us he would meet with Marcie and then he didn’t come/ he said the Ambassador plan to meet Marcie but just couldn’t make it, but other than that we hadn’t requested to see him

– he said he very much hoped the Ambassador would see us and he’d try to arrange it/ he said the problem is that the Ambassador speaks for USSR so everything he says reflects the USSR/ he said “we trust you completely but you understand this”

– he said that he would try to arrange this

regarding visiting us he said that one time he had tried and there were no seats on the plane and another time he tried[,] a diplomatic situation did come up

When I told him I was concerned about that paper I showed him and we wouldn’t want it copied, he said “we would never do anything to hurt you because of what you stand for”

He asked if we were a separate jurisdiction or had any special situation in Jonestown or what/ I told him we were not a separate jurisdiction and explained about the Ministry of Education and how we were being incorporated into the Guyana School system (and used as a model because our school was so excellent)

– I told how we have been told we are essential to Guyana because we are so productive and how several ministers have visited and Viola Burnham is going to visit

– he asked if [Deputy Prime Minister Ptolemy] Reid  had visited, I said “no” but told him Reid had told me that he liked what we are doing and would like to visit.

when we were talking about John and I told him that John was 6 years old/ Martin said “he’s 5”, but Timofeyev  found out from the paper Tim signed that John was 6 and corrected Martin/ he later said Martin was brilliant but I (and Debbie) thought it was kind of a little competition or letting Martin know he didn’t know everything.

Martin sang him the song “Rebel Girl” about [U.S. labor leader] Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and he seemed to like the song/

he said when the Ambassador does see us he wouldn’t be able to spend as much time as he did (he talked to us about 2 hrs.)

– he said we are a very important work because we have done something that hasn’t really been done before/ socialists coming out of the US and J’s being able to make socialists and atheists out of very provincial people (I told him about Edith Cordell and how she was a racist fundamentalist) and now she is a socialist atheist and has a black child/ I explained how she was close to 70 years old and had been with JJ 25 years/ he seemed interested in that (I told him how the Cuban administrator met Edith last night and talked to her)/ he asked if the Cubans had come to our party and I told him no/ and that we wondered why they hadn’t come either.



Sharon Amos

USSR (left out of the last writeup)

– when he came over to talk to us one evening, he said that JJ would have to go if he was served papers to appear, he would have to go thru the proceedures or else he would be in opposition to the govt.

– when we told him about the infiltrator who later came forward and told us he was sickened by what the plans were to use John/ he seemed incredulous and said it sounded like an “adventure” because he didn’t think anyone could get to us where we were and then go out thru Venezuela

– when we told him several people in the govt. were in opposition to the PM going to Moscow, he was irritated and defensive/ he then said “it wasn’t us that opposed us, it was people in the govt .” (he seemed irritated that people would be in opposition)