[Handwritten date] 30 July, 1977
Dear Dr. Reid:
Once again we need your counsel. It is urgent that we buy the sawmill that we’ve had under consideration for some time. If you’re not concerned about our making a purchase with US dollars we will proceed to buy with Guyanese. Of course, we won’t buy anything in US currency except at your request for reasons you discussed previously.
The sawmill is necessary to maintain our agricultural mission. It is imperative that we don’t delay any longer on finalizing this purchase, since it will take some time after purchase before it will become productive for us.
I hope to hear from you at the earliest possible time. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at our headquarters at any hour.
[Handwritten] delivered in evening by Paula
Dear Dr. Reid:
We were relieved to speak to you and get an assurance that Bishop Jones’ son would not be drug through a court battle over custody in Guyana. If she [Grace Stoen] would have gotten her way, all kinds of fascist behavior would have followed. Once the woman is refused, there won’t be any of these kind of custody battles.
She obviously has a large sum of reactionary money behind her. Bishop Jones set up a savings for the child. She, at a later time, was openly bragging about spending it on herself. We have affidavits that you can see the people inside the church and one not very close to the church about this woman’s stealing church money. Now that this thing has come up and they have seen her evil, they felt guilty and told of her spending church money on them on many occasions. On one occasion, an adult woman lifted up a mattress and found $5000 of the church’s money. She didn’t talk about it because she got $350 of it for herself, but she has now signed an affidavit and a copy has been sent there for you from the interior. She wouldn’t live with her conscience when she heard what the woman put in the newspaper, in one magazine, and television.
They could interview this child (John [Stoen]) for yourself. He has some nightmares to tell. He couldn’t cry all night because he had to be presented to Mr. [Richard] McCoy who visited the farm the other day. Mr. McCoy was very nice. The child somehow concluded that he might have to go back and live with her. He said to the Bishop yesterday morning in tears that he would rather die than do that. He has never talked about dying these last few years. The only other time was years ago, when he was living with her. We were all afraid for the child as he was showing manifestations of being devastated – a twitch in his eye, stuttering, loss of appetite, etc. It was then that the Bishop started caring for John. She was very relieved that the Bishop started taking care of him and never came around him. She tried to blackmail Bishop Jones. When the Bishop refused to give into her blackmail, she started running around with men. The child can tell you or anyone can interview him.
The child can tell how she locked him in the garage on different occasions and she went into her bedroom with this racist white man [Walter “Smitty” Jones] who is also in the articles. She threatened to kill the child if he told on her. (This has been so much pain to Bishop Jones that his heart seems to be affected by it.) Another time, the child spoke up for Bishop Jones. She said something very cruel and cursed the Bishop out in front of the child. Then she told the child in a very threatening manner that she and Smitty were going to put a bomb under the church and blow up [several words struck through] if you like him, we’ll blow you up too. She said that to the child!
Toward the end of living with this woman, she would shake him unmercifully for nothing in front of the whole congregation. At times it would seem as if his neck were going to break. Someone would ask her why she did that to the child and she replied, “He reminds me so much of Jim (Jones).” The child has been living with the Bishop and his wife for over two years, closer to three, since he’s spent most of his time in Guyana over the last year to be with the child, and of course the project.
The Bishop went to every degree to keep this child in his life. The Bishop gave her a round trip ticket a few months ago to come and see him and offered it several times, but couldn’t get her to come around and get it. This was a year ago this month. She took the ticket, and we even offered her another ticket so that she wouldn’t have to come alone, since at that time, she was supposedly afraid of this socialist country and afraid of the people of Guyana. Her racism has become very blatant. She has already returned to live with her racist reactionary parents. And, of course, that makes many of our people very paranoid that she would now feel brazen enough to come in here. It must be that she has powerful backing because she spent the $5000 she stole from the church and the $4000 that was put in the child’s account (by her own statement). Her family is influential in reactionary circles, but a very very modest means. She did take the tickets under false pretenses of visiting the child in Guyana a year ago and cashed them in. The airline company can verify that.
The Bishop has had many sleepless nights of torture over this matter. He said he cannot live with the thought of sending the child back to someone who hates him so much and is only using the child as a tool probably (according to [Joe] Mazor, who is a criminal with a 75 page history of unscrupulous illegal activities which is now at the Washington Embassy). Mazor’s criminal records
were provided for us through many lawyers by the request of church leaders who support us of many different faiths.
This is the only case which Bishop Jones or anyone in our entire congregation ever took on in all of the years of his marriage. It was done out of what appeared to be the greatest necessity at the time. Mrs. Jones recommended it to be done and through mistaken idealism on the part of the Board, Bishop Jones hoped that there might also be some chance of changing a sick personality. The entire congregation knows about the child and are writing a statement about how they feel toward the Bishop and his son. They understood perfectly what kind of trouble she would have stirred up at that time if he had not yielded to the Board’s advice.
Mr. Dick McCoy from the US Embassy came out to our farm on Tuesday. Obviously the Bishop did not go into the background of the child with McCoy. However, he said that Joseph Mazor, the criminal who is orchestrating this whole thing is behind this situation, even though the child is here with legal documents. It was immaterial with McCoy; he had no interest in custody matters with the US government.
McCoy also mentioned the problem Guyana was having with Venezuela and we told him that we were behind Guyana to the very last person. We thought McCoy was decisive in that he told the Bishop that you and Minister Wills were embarrassed by the smear campaign by the few reactionary right-wing media sources in California. We felt that his motivation was purely to attempt to divide our loyalties through devisiveness [divisiveness]. However, we know your stance for socialist principal well enough that we did not listen to such nonsense. We didn’t want to inform you of the types of tactics they use.
We just got a call from Steve Narine from the Guyana Chronicle who said that Mohammed MoHamaludin [Hamaludin] wanted to do an interview with the Bishop or myself if he were not available for Reuters International News Service. I have referred the matter on to Mortimer Coddette because the last time we took Cde. Coddette’s advice and told the media that we did not want to hold an interview; that is exactly what they printed. “Peoples Temple declined interview.” Cde. Hamaludin has a very good concept of socialism as far as I can tell, and if such an interview would squash some of the curiosity centered around the farm, we would do it. But only on your advice. The New York Times will be coming out with an exposé on this
right-wing conspired attempt to discredit the name of socialism within days.
Thank you for your kind attention. The Bishop has no greater confidence in any man’s dedication to socialism than yours and I respect the Bishop’s opinion greater than any man alive.
/s/ Paula Adams
Confidential Secretary to Bishop Jim Jones
Dear Dr. Reid:
Regarding the foreign currency exchange offered us by Mr. Bacchus (the man who owns the sawmill at Waini River), we now have a letter in writing from him asking us for the exchange of Guyanese money to $150,000 American money. Per your request, we are informing you about this situation and would like to have some instructions or advice from you concerning this.
Concerning the situation of Bishop Jones’s son, John, we wanted to give you a little further background. Bishop Jones and his wife have reared John for three years. His wife, Marceline Jones, was in full support of this procedure. Mrs. Jones was a high official with a good income, and did not have to accept this situation if she was not fully behind it from the beginning. A letter of her support will be coming to you from her. This is the only case of such a situation in our group. It was only after much discussion and mistaken idealism that our board and the Bishop’s wife asked Jim Jones to prevent Grace from going out and betraying our group. This has never happened with anyone ever again.
Several people have come out to see our farm lately. Mrs. Alexander, Mr. White, Mr. Lambert, and I think a Mr. Wyatt were out recently, and were impressed with the use of Guyanese texts in the school room. They were impressed with the classes, the educational word games, and things made from our own wood. They spoke well of our housing situation, as they saw many couples’ and singles’ residences inside and out, as well as our dorms for boys and girls. They were impressed with our abundance of food when they came unexpected at the dining hour. We gave no announcement of their coming, and we were glad. They wanted to see the pits – in fact, Bishop Jones brought it up. Bishop Jones show them the machine dug garbage pits, I told them about two officials who were concerned about it days before. We wanted to wait until Minister Carmichael came out to look at the pits before burying them. We told our guests about our new hospital that we are planning to build. They toured our laboratory facilities and our nursing station. We showed them our $3000 microscope, our white blood cell counter in a new machine used to detect rare eye diseases. Our guests saw our children’s playground equipment all made by hand. They were quite interested in our modern furniture also made by hand, as good as that which is found on the market, and even better than most. The furniture is made by all wood with no nails. Our
pottery and clothing making also impressed them. No honest person could not have helped be very impressed.
We have delegations all day every day coming in, but some of them could have caused less room for questions, particularly one official, a highly trained professional person who claimed to be a representative for one of the government ministries. He asked several strange questions that are still bothering us. He asked us what we would do if a more extreme Leninist-Marxist government took over and we were asked to leave. We said we would die first. We are pledged to this government’s right to exist, and having been through much persecution, death holds no weight with us these days. We will take the information of what was spoken to us and presented to you if you request it.
Another interestingly bizarre experience is that of a middle-aged white North American man who found his way up the road to our door with no one knowing about him. He told the police he was a friend of ours, but upon being questioned later by police while he was detained, he said he did not know us. He claimed to be alone on foot but peculiarly got all the way from Port Kaituma to our houses without even any dust on his clothes (who drove him?). Power equipment was stolen from the other side of the farm, equipment worth approximately $20,000. Part of the equipment was vital in our building such as power saws and lathes. Electric typewriters were taken, and even the shoes off the porches (because we never wear shoes inside our houses as is the custom in this country). The police said this incident coincided with the North American there who said he was Guyanese, but who’s [whose] voice gave way in the midst of his conversation revealing he was not Guyanese. The police told us they found it conclusive that some equipment that was sold by this man was our equipment. The one question this man asked there was, “Who is John?” Conspiracy is what this all seems to link to.
We have recently had two delegations visit, both of which had members of the opposition party in them who were out to get us. However, all were very impressed with what they saw we were accomplishing on the farm, and went away with a good feeling.
Bishop Jones considers you the finest Socialist he’s ever met, as you have an infinitely deep commitment. He holds you in the highest esteem.
/s/ Paula Adams
Confidential Secretary to Bishop Jim Jones
[Editor’s note: BB-1-ww-1 – ww-2 is a letter to Fred Wills, Guyana Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is virtually identical to the letter to Minister Reid. The only difference is that the following paragraph is substituted for the last two paragraphs of the Reid letter.]
Bishop Jones has a tremendously high personal regard for you, and once you do know that the kind of loyalty he has for his son, John, he also has for you. We can’t thank you enough for all the consultation you have given us, and we hope you won’t hesitate to call upon us if ever we can be of any assistance to you.