Temple Meetings with Soviet Embassy, US Consul, Guyana Officials, March 30

[Editor’s notes: The transcript of this document retains its original spellings, with corrections noted only where necessary for clarity.]


[Five single spaced pages of notes of meetings with Guyanese officials]

USSR visit 307/3/78 (Marcie [Marceline Jones], Sharon [Amos], Lew [Jones], Jimmie [Jones], Johnny [likely Moss Brown Jones], Debbie [Touchette]

– Timofeyev [Soviet Embassy official Feodor Timofeyev] said that he feels that the risk for Jim’s life if he came to town [Georgetown] might only be 10% but it is not worth taking/ he felt verbal assurances are not enough, should have something in writing from the court

– regarding negative press, he said that if former members have turned against the church, he would like to know why they have changed

– he has tho never seen anything like our paper in Capitalist society. It is totally correct/ often papers have something wrong in their position but not this one.

– it would help if we had material showing concrete support of people like Angela Davis, (they already have [Alfred] Kahn’s letter, Carlton Goodlett etc. Vivian Hallinan

– regarding the need for exodus, quick transference of money/ he doesn’t see the need for such a situation developing right away, not within a year at least

– regarding a possible delegation going to the USSR, he said it was a possibility that could help, no problem getting visas at any time, but when asked if it would be possible to arrange meetings with officials, he said that would have to be coordinated and might take a little bit of time/ he is waiting for response back from Moscow to the letter he sent to Moscow a week ago with our requests

– he said that it was difficult thing to arrange (exodus), but when I cried and said “it would be very painful for the door to be shut against children”, we adults don’t matter so much that we need safety for our children, he said that the USSR had taken in 5000 Spanish children (from staying) and had been taken care of and then returned later to Spain/ so he felt it was worth pursuing

– if we did send a delegation we would have to set up an agenda of what we would be speaking about to officials and we should write for a request for a delegation to go/ he didn’t know if it should be written from the US branch of PT (since there are more people there – we told him 8,000) or from here

– he said he doesn’t see Guyana moving that far right

– he said the press in Guyana is dubious at times, they printed an article against the USSR, the Embassy never could find out who wrote the article, as it wasn’t signed and the paper later printed a positive article to correct the subject (this is the official papers he’s talking about)

– he said in regard to Brintley Benn [Guyana political activist Brindley Benn] that Benn’s office is right across from the American Embassy which he found significant/ I told him that Benn had approached the US Embassy for CIA aid to overthrow the govt of Guyana

– we asked him to come to our radio to talk to JJ (through a relay), explained that he wouldn’t have to talk, he said that all this secrecy wasn’t necessary but he just didn’t know about our license/ we said we were official and were licensed but he said he’d rather talk to JJ in person (when he comes to Jonestown) – he still is planning to come to Jonestown

– he said the first time he had talked to us about a possible exodus (which was last December, he had written Moscow say that people might at some time more to come, but he said there was no answer as of yet on this), or he didn’t want to tell us??

– he said it is not a simple question

– in regard to a delegation going to Moscow he didn’t think the Secretary of the Communist Party could see us but others might be able to be arranged and Timofeyev could help make the arrangements

(My view since he is naïve about the press and the US, we should have Laurie [Efrein] compile some news articles showing the write-up in the press (capitalist press) vs a writeup in the People’s world (not necessarily coverage of us but some proofs that the US lies) and it would have to be material that is being released for the international press since Timofeyev says that the press within the country might lie but he didn’t think they could get away with total lies for international press)

(you once gave us a list of allegations made and our view of the truths of the matter but I don’t know if you want to give that to them, also perhaps we could give them some background of each of detractors and what turned them against us (lifestyle



like with Mike Cartmell)

McCoy telephone call to him 1/4/78 [April 1, 1978] Sharon Amos

– he said that in regard to Lela Murphy, he doesn’t need to have her buried in Georgetown, he doesn’t care about that, as long as the site is OK with Guyanese, but she does need a death report filled out by whomever does it there locally

– he does need to know her next of kin, said that on her passport there is usually an emergency addressee or on her immigration report and he could send a telegram to the next of kin just in case just so they couldn’t complain later

– he needs the date of birth, death, and place of birth and her passport/ no bih [big] rush but would like it by Monday

Re  rumors from Amer. Embassy about JJ being an atheist

– he said it is his policy not to say anything about Americans to Guyanese

– said John Blacken did tell him that he Blacken was surprised that JJ said he was an agnostic, he told John that he was moving away from the stereotyped Christ to be more interested in following Christ’s life and once in awhile [a while] doubted the very existence of God

– Dick didn’t know however that John would mention that in town as he said John was very sophisticated in knowing what to say and what not to and he didn’t think John would say that

– when I called him back and told him that it was him that we were told was talking about J being an atheist, he said it was untrue

– he had said before this second call that he would discreetly find out who was the one in the Embassy that was talking

– he claimed that the only person he has even talked to lately is Chief Justice [Harold] Bollers who praised us

When I started talking about the plot for the man (who informed us) to kidnap John [Victor Stoen] he said that there was an order that the Chief Immigration Officer received from the court that the child will not be permitted to leave the country until the case is resolved

– McCoy said he brought back a whole pile of information about Tuminia [State Department official Frank Tumminia], a letter from Laura Johnston, Dennis Banks

– he said that they had gotten a call at the State Dept, it had while [wild] schemes in it, saying this person would like to know if it was difficult to get in to and out of Guyana and could they get an American child that was there

– they wouldn’t mention names and didn’t mention the word Kidnap and when the officer then realized it was probably John he got very cagey with them

– he asked if the US govt would assist them and got a flat no/ the officer told the person not to do anything against Guyanese law and they hung up

– before this the officer said the US Govt will not condone such a thing, the case is in the courts and they would be locked up if they did it

– the officer was told to be sure to keep a record of any such call (write it down), he first used the word “document” the call and I asked if he meant tape it and he said they couldn’t do it any more

– he said that even though the custody order giving permission for Jim and Joyce to take the child to Guyana was voided in California, it will still be respected until the judge decides on custody

– he said [Tim] Stoen wrote a chain letter to 90 Congressmen that John was held against his sill [will]/ the State Dept when the congressman wrote them said that the statements made by Tim were not exactly correct and that both Tim and Jim were American citizens and that the case was in the courts. they said it would be presumptuous for the State dept. to interfere with the rights of all Americans here

– some Congressmen had complained that there was a Calif. court order but it was explained to them that a Calif. court order had no authority in Guyana

– it was Elizabeth Powers in the Welfare and Whereabouts section of the State Dept that wrote the letters to the congressmen

– Tim said that the courts have withheld the decision to help JJ when it was pointed out to Congressmen  that this was incorrect



McCoy cont. 1/4/78 [April 1, 1978]

– I asked if this would effect [affect] Tim’s credibility, with the State Dept saying his statements weren’t totally correct. He said it might be because in Feb.  there was a lot of activity (letters) but in the last 3-4 weeks there isn’t much

– however, up till now he has been fairly effective and being heard by Congressmen because they recall him being close to JJ

– if Stoen cover comes to town, Dick [McCoy] Will talk to him about his statements because he said Tim said that “his son was kidnapped and the Embassy wouldn’t help him”

when I told him we had heard the Amer. Ambassador had put some pressure on it, he said that was not true, he’s a professional in the best sense of the word and he is trying to keep any political pressure out of it/ Dick said the Ambassador won’t even let Dick speculate at all about the case (in terms of what would happen if there was a certain outcome/ I said “have you then been speculating and he told you to stop?”) (he said “oh, I see what you mean”

– Tim has said that JJ has enormous political power

– the Asst. Sect.  of Consular Affairs  told Dick when Dick was visiting recently in Washington that in no uncertain terms would they consider Embassy Involvement at all in this case

I took the instructions on McCoy real fast and when I was giving them I read “Give no more details that what is instructed”, but I did mention about Venezuela  and the plan to go thru Mathews [Matthews] Ridge to Venezuela. McCoy said that he didn’t think anyone could get thru there as it is thick jungle, I said I didn’t know what I thought they had a guide. Im sure this was very stupid.

– the name [U.S. Sen. John] Stennis was given (Sten was said) so I told him that Stennis was involved in this


[former Guyana Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred] Wills 30/3/78

– re JJ coming to town, he said that if he does, get authority from [Vibert] Mingo, if a private citizen tries to start anything against JJ, we could send him back to Jonestown

– he should be unpredictable, set up appointments but them [then] switch them at the last minute

–  hasn’t heard anything about the decision

– it is helpful sign [Guyana Prime Minister Forbes] Burnham is going to Moscow, the govt of Guyana needs the project (PT)

– IMF [International Monetary Fund]  came to town and said that there was a lot of  larceny and corruption and they are playing tough. Wills is worried that Guyana won’t get any kind of aid

– if JJ comes to town, the opposition could say that there are warrants out for this man and would look like JJ is flaunting the situation/ however if the PNC [Peoples National Congress] could live with any pressure from the opposition it would be alright/ we should check on this thru Mingo

– he said Mingo is very busy with election referendum (and that’s why he can’t always follow thru (I’m not sure about the end of that sentence if it was Mingo following thru . He explained by the election, I’m just guessing)


Eric Clarke 27/3/78

– Marcie, Debbie, Sharon

– his opinion on devaluation (what would he suggest if it did happen)

– he said the PM said devaluation is not the answer to Guyana’s problems so Guyana is resisting that, Jamaica had to bow 3 times, Chili [Chile] had to devaluate also

– however if they devaluated, he said we would get more Guyanese dollars for our American dollars we bring in/ Guyana would stick to US dollars

– some countries have a devaluation insurance, Guyana does not

– if we get govt bonds, their [there] are tax free dividends

– IMF is at an impasse, Guyana is insisting on our own terms



– he has had no contact yet with [Desmond] Hoyte, will see him (but Hoyte is out




Eric Clarke 30/3/78 cont. pg. 2

of town a couple of weeks)

Stoen case: hasn’t heard anything about that



– one of our boat crew could be a witness (you need 2 witnesses) the person signs in front of any 2 witnesses ibe if the people that signs has to come in to the office (Clark’s office) – he made out a form for it

Tax Concession letter, he will check into it/ neither dept gave us something in writing, Min of Finance or Bank of Guyana/ one of them approved it (Bank of Guyana I think) and the other turned it down but he says he needs it in writing to appeal it (I said couldn’t he get it verbally to at least know where to start but he said no), he claims he’s been pressuring for it in writing but with no result/ I said what do you do then, he said just keep waiting for it

Incorporation papers, they’ve been turned in and he will have them typed

Re the man Mr Veokaran coming out to see the site of Tommy’s accident/ he said he’d check on it but this man is entitled to see Tommy’s situation


Medical Release Form

– he will check on this


[Lionel] Luckhoo 3/78

– when he ignored us the street and we thought he might have found out from John Clark that John Clark was working on the case

– we asked him if he had ignored us and he was friendly and said he was just very busy

– when we told him we were accused of sending letters to the Judge and his wife, but that we know had to come from Stoens as they had done this before etc./ he said he wouldn’t bring it up to [Judge Audrey] Bishop (because how would he know from us and where would we have heard it) unless Bishop brought it up but he would be prepared to answer it

– when we asked if Bishop could have asked someone to write the decision for him and we were told that, he said “never does someone ask for someone else to write a decision for them, it’s just not done”

– right after that he said, “have you seen Wills? He still has areas of influence even tho not in a position officially” – we said we hadn’t seen him the past couple of days (not wanting him to know Wills was the one who told us about the judge getting letters and he being the one asked to write the decision) but said we were still very friendly with him

– re JJ being an atheist, we told him how deeply religious man JJ is as he lives the life of Christ which you wouldn’t do if he wasn’t religious, Luckho[o] said he judged a man by the fruit and he was satisfeid JJ was religious but thought it would be bad if McCoy spoke in the US about this

– he said that he talked to [Guyana Minister of Education Vincent] Teekah and Teekah had been very impressed with Jonestown

– we asked when this decision would finally come about/ he said he didn’t want to push the judge for a decision as not just wasn’t done

– he didn’t feel that someone on Stoen’s side could get the Marshall of the court to activate the arrest order, said that just wasn’t done

[Guyana Minister of Information Shirley] Field-Ridley 3/4/78 Prokes, Marcie[,] Sharon, Debbie T.

(I thought she was phony and indirect and we didn’t get what she really feels except in her “subtle remarks”)

– said with the film group, they of course have an electricity problem right now but they’re concentrating on overseas work/ no cost problem in regard to doing a film on us (as Mike [Prokes] said we’d pay for it)

– we could have the film made by others (over)



and if we were concerned about them not being sympathetic to us, we could have it built into the contract, that we have certain assurances on the script

– she could have someone in her dept help us on the script

– re stand off/ she asked if we thought there was such a thing, as I told her we had heard it from a couple of sources. I mentioned the Fernant article/ she claimed she had seen in 3-4 weeks ago in the paper

– she did say she felt news should be separated from comment  (I asked about this but Mike said he understood what she meant, and there is a little uptightness when I am with Mike and Marcie especially about pursuing things too much)

– she said there were no problems that can’t be sorted out regarding news

– she said that Marcie came over very well in her speech, the program was long but the quality was good

– she said some of the guyanese performers should be around us during the rehearsals etc. because of the long hours we spent

– regarding Hoyte, she said that kind of thing will happen and could happen again but it didn’t change the govt’s attitude toward us

– Marcie said she could understand where Hoyte is coming from (I think she is too apologetic for people, I think tho people are very impressed with her tho which helps a lot)

– she said (Shirley) that we think alike (PT and Guyana) in terms of ideology and background but it’s a process of getting to know each other

– she said don’t press too hard on integration, English soft sell is the policy remaining in Guyana, don’t feel you will accomplish it by tomorrow morning/ Guyanese may seem different but they are reserved (I explained how we had been pushed on an official level to integrate even faster than we had thought was possible so we get confused about the inconsistencies/ she just smiled

– she said you are “people from the heart of capitalism yet you have a completely different image”

– Mike said “our reaction come from our past experience” (I thought this wasn’t too good to say because they feel we are inflexible and it’s our lack of perception of the present situation and we are overreacting

– she said we should keep being vigilant regarding the US, and should answer charges

– she said Guyana has a low profile in the way Guyana project things / she said the pace of life here is the opposite extreme from saying the pace of NY/ NY pace floors her completely (I think all this is to tell us to back off)

– she said Guyana likes people to take it easy the feeling is “don’t crowd me”

– she said there will be problems you have to expect that

– arrest order: she said “I am kind of callous on that but if they had an arrest order just to get JJ to appear in court with the child, she thought that was just part of the procedure. We explained that JJ had done no crime and that the arrest order was improperly served etc and then hadn’t been enforced or actually served (at least not correctly), she said well then there should be no worry

– she said when she was asked, that the arrest order was just for the child to be brought in and wouldn’t be applicable to any other situation


ARNON ADAMS (Information officer, Ministry of Info, Ron Van Dyke’s friend) 2/4/78

– said he heard our show was the best program that had appeared at the cultural center besides being the first free one

– a photographer named White (who works for the Ministry) felt it was the best show, he was there

– he had some theater tickets for tonight but said he would give them up to come to our show at the Chinese Dragon