Soviets Express Diplomatic Hesitation on Some Temple Ideas, April 12

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

[Pages 1 and 2 of this document were duplicated at G-1-g-14a – 14b. Page three was duplicated at G-1-h-6]


Sharon Amos

USSR 12/4/78 [April 12, 1978] (Debbie [Touchette], Sharon, Mike [Prokes]), [Fedor] Timofeyev

– said he didn’t think Guyana would allow 20,000 people to come here, “govt. within a govt.”, I asked if the govt here would allow 1200 or so to be here, he didn’t think 200 more or less would effect [affect] Guyana

– I said “who said it” and he said it’s just his feeling

– said he doesn’t know about the referendum, hopes it will pass (I thought he was just being diplomatic and careful)

– said the struggle will continue between the people here

– said there is no working class movement here in Guyana/ difference with USSR as USSR had a proletarian participation

– will check on whether the doctor can come to see JJ, problem now because with the present sickness there may be a problem with sickness that could especially affect the Russian children

– said our speeches (cultural center) were quite different/ Marcie was very diplomatic, and Prokes laid it out all too clearly/ he said something about the speech being quite together and praised it and I said it came from JJ but then went on to say it was laid out too clearly so Prokes covered and said only part was from JJ

– we showed him the paper (about his not being able to understand as well about the US and the conspiracy to arrest black people, socialists etc. – it is attached) and when we did he turned on a radio that was in the room (to cover taping I presume)

– I told him that there was little opposition press in the US and he said there was no opposition press like our paper. I said that’s true but the opposition press is generally not widely read and people are bombarded by TV and sensational type stories in major news papers and they tend to believe what is in writing

– Prokes told him about the lies in the media that he knew about from his 1st hand experience

– Debbie asked why we would be under scrutiny when we’re friends of Angela [Davis] who is a communist and Debbie asked if the USSR checked out the lies about Angela like they were checking us

– Timofeyev said that no article (negative) was printed about Angela in the USSR, and that now it was printed they wanted to check on why it had actually gotten into the paper in the first place

– regarding his coming to visit, he said he’d check on it and let us know tomorrow

– he said we really ought to get a helicopter so we could fly them in/ he said the USSR sells helicopters and boats and some farm equipment (he said they have helicopters for 6 people and those that hold 25), he said they have a freighter with underwater wings, jet propelled, 50 miles an hour and the cost would be 1 million Guyanese, he said he’d talk to the commercial counsellor from USSR to get brochures if we are interested/ he said their tractor equipment is good but their caterpillars are weak. He said they also have boats for 50 persons, 16, and 10 persons. Prokes said the price on the boat sounded very good because Timofeyev said it might be too high for us. I later said it was a bit high (because I didn’t know if it was a good idea to sound like it’s cheap because [former Guyana Foreign Minister Fred] Wills had said the Russians were burned on a house they bought in Guyana for 1 million dollars and I didn’t want them to think we might be someone to make their money back on in case they thought we’d be a pushover)

– he read that paper from us and screwed up his face like he was really thinking about what it said


USSR 12/4/78 (evening at our house) Timofeyev

– said that when I asked about his going to Jonestown that they will go but he personally can’t go because he is working on some diplomatic thing with the govt. of Guyana/ they have to formalize the regulations of travel between the Soviet Union and here for consuls

– I asked if they were having any problem diplomatically with going/ he said that at some time that might be a problem but it is not now/ he said that we have to realize that they are here on invitation and they have to first and foremost be aware of what Guyana would want and wouldn’t want.






– he said no answers had come yet/ we asked if he could give us his idea about it/ he said he is not supposed to do that, because if he gave an individual opinion and it didn’t correspond with the official it would be a problem

– we told him about the contradictions regarding Larry Schacht and how we were told something could be arranged for him to have a consultant and then that was changed and how we couldn’t leave that region without a doctor

– he said “we’ve had a similar problem” – he said the USSR tried to give Guyana free polio vaccine for all the children (huge sums of money it would cost) and he was told by [Guyana Minister of Health] Hamilton Green that they didn’t have refrigeration to store it and then Guyana turned around, the same Green, and purchased vaccine from the US for thousands of dollars

– he said that USSR has offerred free scholarships to Guyanese youth/ one year they offerred 50 and only 6 were used/ transportation and everything would have been provided and again some 20 or so have been offerred and only a few taken up

– we told him that we couldn’t understand why there was a problem and said that a visiting group of 35 today had filled out our guest book with praises and he said we should soft sell things/ don’t get into how fantastic things are there/ just talk about actual things you’re doing/ he said it makes people jealous of all we have/ said we have all that we need and we have no water problem, no electricity problem etc. and great medical care and that can make people think they’d want jj for their leader and that could be a problem

– he said in his opinion (he said it was his opinion when I asked him) Guyana will not tolerate this if it keeps on

– it’s as if we are rubbing in the problem as the bad conditions of other people stand out

REGARDING OUR SCHOOL AND HOW IT WAS ACCEPTED (because he said we should compromise on whatever issues we could)

– he said it was very good that one won out by not compromising, but he felt that in the long range we wouldn’t have as much problem if we didn’t talk so directly about how socialistic we are

– he said the people here are not capable of understanding us, that we are too advanced and they don’t understand it

– said even if you said your schools use English or American books and didn’t mention socialism, you’d have less trouble


– said the doctor couldn’t come to Jonestown as he is not supposed to treat anyone except for the USSR staff/ that once the PM [Prime Minister] had asked for the Russian doctor to treat him and the doctor had to refuse (tho Wills told us the Russians insisted that he be examined by the Russian doctor)

– he said however the doctor could take notes that Larry writes up about JJ, and could study them and make suggestions and maybe even provide some Russian medicine that they have here

– he said in regard to coming to Jonestown that he would send his press representative but the Chare D’Affairs [charge d’affaires] told him that perhaps it would hurt us for them to come/ in that the US Embassy was already asked questions about it and he said that it could bring more pressure down on us in terms of the conspiracy

– when we were out with him before he took off in the car, he said that by the way we had not been specific enough when we wrote the letter to the Ambassador to go to USSR/ he said he could say this now because his Ambassador was out of the country. Said that his Ambassador had asked him a 100 questions and he didn’t know what the USSR would ask but in terms of the delegation going to USSR, they would need to have specifics, what we would seek them about, how many would go – very specific things, that’s how they like things written up



[Handwritten heading: “Sharon Amos”]

USSR CONTINUED 12/4/78 cont

[Guyana opposition leader Cheddi] JAGAN: we wrote out that we’d like him to arrange a meeting with Jagan

– he said that he could but he can’t and he wouldn’t explain that when we asked for explanation

– he said we could do it ourselves/ we could see [Cheddi Jagan’s wife] Janet at the Freedom House from 9-12 daily (we asked him to write instead of talking and I wrote down the word immigration and said that is still a problem for us so that’s why we were writing), he didn’t seem that concerned or that apologetic but did say that if that was a problem maybe we should think first about meeting with Jagan

– I said I thought it would be better if he arranged it as we had some difficulty arranging it before and he said that he had been told we came at 4:00 AM in the morning and that’s what the problem was. We said it would have had to be an emergency if that was the case.


– he said that there is a new ruling that you cannot come into the country (this is changing in the new constitution) unless you first have a visa from Guyana in your hand

– he wondered if we had any problem in this area/ no we said


– when we gave him the whole background on the person that has come forward and told us information regarding John Stoen and kidnap plans etc. he seemed a little incredulous about the thing and said it sounded rather adventuristic and he wondered how anyone could get the child out when there is a jungle/ we said that guides could be paid to come thru the jungle and that there was a military person in Venezuela that was helping with the arrangements, he didn’t seem to take it too seriously (I think he thinks we have big imaginations???????)


– I sometimes feel that Fedor (Theodore) Timofeyev would like to go further with us than he is allowed to do by his Embassy/ he’ll often say something like “I hope my Ambassador will meet with you” (Or tonight he said that since his ambassador is out of town (In Russia) he could tell us that he asked so many questions

– I think Timofeyev is kind of fascinated with us (at the same time perhaps a little unsure that we are really as good as we sound), but still interested, but when he checks on things, they often come back with a less agreeable reply/ like if he says he’ll check if he can go to Jonestown (on this boat) and he sounded interested but he told us he would not be able to get away and he told us he was told that by the Charge D’Affairs


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