“Mary Ruth” Letters to “Hill,” Fall 1977 (Set 2)

[Editor’s note: The names Hill and Mary Ruth are code for Jim Jones and Paula Adams, respectively.]




1. I think Lionel’s [Luckhoo] examination of the case is perhaps much more clear than anything we could have given you, however I will add a few of the details I know in case I left them out.

A. The Prime Minister, Fred Wills [Minister of Foreign Affairs], and the Chancellor of the Judiciary J.O.F. Haynes (top spot in the judicial system) are advising Lionel how to handle the case insofar as Lionel does the research and they say whether it is good enough to present in court. The Prime Minister called him four times according to Lionel to ask him how the case was going (which is why I think Lionel has taken such a sudden interest in it). The Chancellor has called him several times but Lio [Lionel] has had to call Wills.

B. The court is going to nullify all of the orders for arrest of the child and the arrest of you and interest the same time that Jeffrey Haas is not even qualified to represent the mother as he has no authority. If the Judge which Joyce [Touchette] appeared before on Friday remains hostile, then it will go before the Full Court and if they won’t throw out the orders, then it goes before the Court of Appeals (which is the Chancellor) and he will throw it out. The Judge Aubrey Bishop asked Minister Wills why he didn’t tell him government was interested. Wills, according to Wills, informed Bishop that whether government was interested or not, “bad law was bad law.” There is no reason to believe that Judge Bishop will be on our side. If he finally agrees, it will be done quickly; if not it will just take a little longer. It is assured that we will win the case as it stands now.

C. The procedure could be drawn out, however, Wills did indicate that it would be finished before October 6.

D. Wills is keeping a very close eye on the matter. He even knew that Karen [Layton] was waiting outside of the courtroom when Joyce was inside. However, as was Richard McCoy and his assistant Dennis Reese.

E. I have enclosed a letter which was sent by Luckhoo to collect fees.

F. Karen has not been approaching Langley at all recently because of two reasons. We ascertained that he really didn’t have any large amount of money that he would be willing to spend on her, and then after getting that message, we stopped. It was very difficult to keep up with that anyway because we didn’t have much spare time. However, to even get some of those outrageous fees cancelled would be quite a savings.



1. I think Joyce Touchette likes to be an alarmist. When giving you the information over the radio about the court situation, I was trying to get Joyce to explain the background that we knew from a meeting even she attended that it was very likely that the Judge would be hostile to us, but we were planning to take it to another court if he didn’t agree. She made it sound like it was the end. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Even when they asked [Clarence] Hughes if Grace [Stoen] was coming down, he would have been a lousy lawyer to say “no”.

2. Joyce has stirred more shit up here in the few days than anyone ever has. She has got Helen [Swinney] so hostile that we don’t even know how to approach her. She has had to say something about us, because where Helen was relatively friendly, now we can’t even approach her and she is such a bitch to newcomers.

3. The worst person for telling the people the negative aspects of Jonestown is Joyce Touchette. Joyce told Tish [Leroy] and a group of people that no one coming down here should be pregnant and that they should get abortions. When Tish told her that Father said that some women never get over having an abortion therefore he lets them make their own decision, she said that she still thought this was not the time for any babies and “you should have seen what happened to the babies during the last siege.” She also made some reference to me about a walk in the bush and Marcie (the child) dying and we couldn’t figure out what we were going to do. I don’t know what the hell she is talking about and I certainly have enough trust in you that I do not feel it is necessary to jeopordize [jeopardize] our movement to try to clarify the situation over the radio. I assume what she was trying to say was that Marcie died and was raised from the dead and I don’t feel it necessary to risk adding any details. Please don’t say anything about this over the radio. I brought it up because I think it is the alarmist in Joyce that likes to emphasize the negative on everything and even the way she told me would have left anyone else wondering what exactly happened. I don’t like Joyce and I like her even less on this trip.




1. The evening the agricultural leaflets came in was a sensational crisis. Joyce and Karen went to the airport to meet the plane. I haven’t gone for a long time and Joyce said that she knew some customs agents and they were very friendly. Joyce is perhaps one of the most calm people and appearingly self-assured person I know and therefore I have a lot of confidence in her ability to handle situations that I don’t think other people can handle. This happened to be one of the worst nights ever and the customs agent in charge from the evening was a mean nasty son-of-a-bitch. He made all of our people hold their own passports and fill out their own forms (where we usually help them out) and made each one of them claim their own baggage (where we usually claim it altogether) and have them take out all of their belongings out of each trunk and bag and laid out so they could see every item. When Mike Carter saw what they were doing, he just ignored six of the trunks which did not have the same markings on them. The customs agent carried them away to the unclaimed baggage section. The customs man detained the radio equipment only and sent all of the rest of the stuff through. So we had six unclaimed suitcases and the radio equipment. Then Joyce came home and told me about it, I took Joyce, Karen, and Mike Carter and went back to the airport. Joyce took the last load of people there and Karen, Mike and I stayed at the airport waiting for the customs people to show up for their morning shift. When they did, Karen and I compensated like hell and had Mike wait out in the passenger area. We told the guy that some of the people had overlooked some baggage and were going up on the boat. I told Karen anything was go to get these guys friendly to us. The customs agent who was in charge and an absolute creep came onto Karen pretty strong, so Karen ended up carrying most of the nerve-racking load. We finally ended up going over to the cargo area. They opened the trunks and went through them fairly thoroughly but not looking too specifically for anything. We only had one very close call when they discovered a false bottom in one of the crates and when Karen told him it was only sheets they said o.k. and let it go. We finally got them all out of there. When that false bottom came up, I thought we were headed for jail and trying to figure out what we were going to say about them (a plant – part of the conspiracy?). Karen said she didn’t realize we could have been arrested for that, but she thought quickly enough or the guy was just so enamoured with her that he didn’t think. Anyway, I’m glad that is over. I don’t think we should risk that again for a long time. One of the guys said that someone from Telecomm told them to watch for radio transmitters.