Report on Conference at American Russian Institute

[Editor’s notes: This report also appears as GG-1-J1 – J2 in FBI Section 139 GG-1 on Russian Contacts.]

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

Report of November 5, 1978 Conference at American Russian Institute


November 6, 1978
TO: J.J.
FROM: Vera Young
SUBJECT: Community

On November 5, 1978, a group of us went to a conference at the Jack Tar Hotel sponsored by the American Russian Institute/Holland Roberts Center[.] Jean Brown, Andy [Silver] and myself approached the Consul General, Alex I. Zinchunk, Jean Brown delivered to Mr. Zinchunk your message as instructed. Zinchunk have received considerable information about Peoples Temple and his comments were, “I understand that your group has been quite active”. The more Jean spoke the more he nodded and stated, yes, I know, I know. It seems that Davidow and Bransford or whomever, has been doing a lot of talking about P.T. Davidow mentioned to me that it won’t be long now before some of [us] from P.T. will be going to the U.S.S.R.

On the morning of 11/5, Hue Fortson was a featured speaker in Oakland at this humanist fellow church. Hue took [blank space] slideOn the morning of 11/5, Hue Fortson was a featured speaker in Oakland at this humanist fellow church. Hue took [blank space] slides.s. The members of this church are affiliated with the Holland Roberts Institute, through Andy, P.T. was invited to this church to explain to the membership what P.T. was all about, both here and in Guyana. There was some question and answers just because the slides took up so much of the time, the questions were minimal. However, one man approached Hue and inquired about the [blank space] relationship between Jonestown, [Guyana Prime Minister Forbes] Burnham, Chagen [Guyana opposition leader Cheddi Jagan]. He went on to say that he spent some time in Guyana mining Documents but ran out of money so he returned to the U.S. By in large through [though], I think the impression that was left with the small group was positive. One lady asked about the monetary system in Jonestown. Hue explained that folks had money but there was no [blank space] monetary exchange necessary due to the collective lifestyle. She talked about slave labor camps. I do think though, that the slides told the complete story about Jonestown.

According to the minister of this church the congregation was a mixture of old leftists, union members, socialists and communists. He considered himself a communist. He wanted to know where our affiliation was with Glide [Methodist Church], and it seems like I here [hear] that question a lot. I told him none. He then elaborated about [Glide minister] Cecil Williams which was quite unfavorable.

On Thursday, November 9, 1978 a group of us will go to Sproul Hall to hear Angela Davis speak.

Last Friday, Oct. 31, 1978, Hue, Guy [Young], Andy and myself went to a fundraiser for Yvonne Burke, who is running for Atty. General of California. Yvonne did not show nor did [Lt. Gov. Mervyn] Dymally, but Andrew Young did show. We talked with him twice. Once was very brief, too many folks around. On the second attempt, Hue asked for his autograph while I talked in his ear. I told him about the project and the reputation it is receiving from visitors around the world and that as UN ambassador he should see the project for himself. He promised that whenever he was in the caribbean, specifically Guyana, he would drop in on the project. He said he would like to see it.

Andrew Young’s speech was somber, dismal and an attack on the black middle class. He talked about the systematic oppression of minorities and the systematic exclusion of minorities from the mainstream of economic, political life. He spoke about conservatism and the move towards racism as oppose[d] to one world government.



While I was speaking to Andrew Young, a woman overheard my comments about Jonestown, and later asked to speak with us about the project. It seems as though this woman had been to Guyana and was familiar with the land lease program of Prime Minister Burnham. She spoke of a group who presently reside in the bush, originally from the U.S., who received mail from sourounding villagers and citizens of Georgetown who want to know what is happening in Jonestown.

According to this women [woman], who’s [whose] name I will have to forward later, she has been sending copies of articles clipped from papers here in America. We invited her to the church to see the slides. She was eager to come, she did say that she wasn’t guaranteeing that she wouldn’t be convinced by what we had to say to her.

Justice Clinton White. I had previously met Clinton White at a correctional seminar and he was friendly. He said he knew little about P.T. other than what he had been told by Billy Hunter and read in the newspaper. He did say that he had heard that J.J. was a very good man. We ran into Justice White on 10/31 approx. 2/3 weeks after the first encounter and he had been approached by [Tim] Stoen. He brought up the child situation, we explained the child situation. He seemed reluctant to listen but he listened.

We told him about Stoen’s activities in Germany and his conduct as an atty. representing clients against the church to which he was once atty. Justice White was defensive of Stoen’s behavior in Germany and summarized such activity as something he would have done in his youth. He said he would talk with [Carlton] Goodlett and Gary [Charles Garry], but wouldn’t promise to read the literature.

The NAACP Board elections are coming up. Am I to stay on the Board??

On Friday, November 10, 1978, we will sell food at an Oakland International Festival at the Oakland Auditorium. Erika [Ericka] Huggins of the Oakland Community School won’t be using her booth on Friday, so she has agreed to let us sell food at their booth for one day. We’ll take chicken and potatoe pies. This will be an ethnic festival. Hopefully, we’ll work something out and stay all three days.

On 10/31 a [blank space] group of our children went to Holland Roberts for a halloween party. One many [man] who had been totally negative re: P.T. was very impressed with David, one of Jessimere Harris’ grandsons to the point that his opinion of JJ changed as a result of David’s good manners and maturity.

I called Dymally’s office in Sac. from work, to obtain present information for S.F. and this area is doing literally nothing in support of the Lt. Gov. I mentioned that I was from P.T. and the response I received was that the Sac. office was very impressed with the amount of support P.T. has given the Lt. Gov. throughout the year.

On Thurs evening [underlined blank space] Perry will be at the Temple for dinner. I understand from Andy’s report, See Attached, that he has been cleared to visit Jonestown. A report will follow his visit.


P.S. enclosed is a letter to you from Walter L. Scott, II, Deputy Executive Director, SFHA [San Francisco Housing Authority].