The question of whether Jim Jones ever seriously contemplated uprooting the Jonestown community for a second move – this time to the politically-pure (at least in his estimation) location of the Soviet Union – is one which likely will never be definitely answered. Yet there were several in the Jonestown leadership who argued for consideration of the idea, and in late October 1978, three members of the Jonestown hierarchy – Gene Chaikin, Tom Grubbs and Dick Tropp – wrote a memo analyzing several specific locations for possible resettlement.
The two-page document acknowledges that, wherever they consider going, it will be colder than what they are used to. “All available ‘southern’ areas in the U.S.S.R. fall in latitudes equivalent to Pittsburgh on the south, Albany in the center, and Montreal on the north,” the memo begins. Whether there are specific areas with warmer microclimates is unknown, and several times the authors admit they are relying upon deduction, assumption and speculation in the absence of detailed information. For those reasons, the memo concludes, “We strongly suggest that a party of our people go to any of the areas suggested by the Soviets, during the winter, to make a first hand inspections of the conditions and an evaluation of their suitability for our people.”