Eugene Chaikin Letters to Mark Lane

Mark Lane
1177 Central Ave
Memphis, Tenn.
U.S.A.
via Terri Buford
(Hand delivery)

Letter No. 1 (Transmittals lA, 1.2)

Dear Mark:

I am enclosing T. l.2 which is a list of materials that I requested San Francisco to send here, with copies to you, and T 1.B which is a first list of recommended investigation targets. T 1.B is significant in that the newspaper articles are probably now one of the best sources of back­ground data (as you see we have requested that S.F. copy and send you our collection) and that reports of fires, bombing, telephone harassments, were made to local law enforcement agencies over the years.

The history or Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple goes back to the early days of the civil rights movement in the 1950’s. Jim first began his church work as an integration vehicle during that period. He visited Cuba in (I believe) 1957 and again in 1959 just after the revolution. He acted as the general secretary to the Commission on Human Rights for Indianapolis, Indiana for about 10 months in 1961 while continuing his church work. There was constant harassment during this 6 -7 year period, much surely attributed to local racists, but there was also a point in which the F.B.I. contacted his mother wanting to know if he had attended a Pau1 Robeson rally in Chicago (though this may be somewhat earlier – they had an early start on him). In 1962 -1964 he and some of the church members went to Brazil and worked at the Escola da Favela in Bello Horizonte. In 1964 he returned to Indianapolis to find the church he created there in total disarray, and apparently then concluded that work in the Mid-West would not be fruitful. During 1965 and into 1966 he and avout [about] 175 members of the congregation mooved [moved] to Redwood Valley, California and established the present Peoples Temple entity. Harrassment [Harassment] there too. In about 1967 he began to work in San Francisco and held his first meeting in Los Angeles in 1969. Stoen joined in that year. In 1971 the first mass buss [bus] trip to the east was made. There was another such trip in 1972 in the summer, and churches were purchased in San Francisco and Los Ang­eles in the winter of that year. Services were conducted from Sacramento through Bakersfield in the central valley area. In the summer of 1973, the first few of a series or “defectors” 1eft, and December saw the beginning of the Guyana project. In 1974 there was a second burning of the S.F. church and a bomb was found under his buss. There was another trip around U.S.A. reaching several major cities (Philadelphia, Chicago). 1975 saw a first time “break through” in the media with much good publicity. In 1976 activities really “boomed”; the Peoples Forum began in April, May saw a mass joint rally with the Nation of Islam in the L.A. convention center (over 20,000 attended), there were two major trips around the country (N.Y., Phile, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Houston), “free press” marches in Fresno (over 1000 people) and Los Angeles (over 3,000 people), Jim was appointed to the S.F. Housing Commission in the fall, and the U.S. Air Forse [Force] Intelligence Operation (Stennis) was penetrated. There were added defections in the fall of 1976. The heavy press attack geared up in the spring of 1977 and hit us in the summer. The “exodus” to Guyana then began in ernest [earnest].

There is a huge mass of materials to be developed, reviewed, analysed etc. In the hope or establishing some delineation I wou1d like your advice as to a “cut off” point, and as to the order of priorities. Of course the farther back we go historically, her [the] harder it is to get “hard” data.

We enjoyed hearing about the Georgetown press conference. Keep well and thanks for everything.

Page 2

(handwritten note)

Talk with Charles:

  1. PT & Stoen: Possib. Depo. T.O.S. [Timothy Oliver Stoen] prior to filing affidavits [possibly deposition Timothy Oliver Stoen?]
  2. The Tropp Article
  3. How to protest the Original Deed
  4. Incident ab + S.K. toying a snatch
  5. J.R. → the Notary Case

Page 3

Transmittal. No 1.A (Request for Basic research materials)

In order to do a thorough research job we are requesting that copies of the following files be sent to us here, and a copy be sent to Mark Lane in Memphis.

  1. The complete newspaper clipping file on the church (we know that we have many of the relevant clippings here but don’t want to miss any.) Include all indexes, which should be with the articles. Keep up Allens Clipping Svc.
  2. The file on “people who left the church”.
  3. A copy of each of our “political” publications including a copy of each Peoples Forum.
  4. Copies of all notes, memos, incident reports, phone logs (threats),
  5. Copies or photos of all marches, mass rallies, damages to property from fire &c, police harassment (L.A. “riot”?), photos of J.J. with dignitaries (in and out of church) dated.
  6. copies of memos, letters, or other “evidentiary” materials originating outside the church, with special attention to Agency communications.
  7. Master file of public relations letters and responses.
  8. The Airplane file.
  9. Full set of P.T. Corporate minutes.
  10. Any personal histories of members of the Church.
  11. We do not have a copy of the smear article that appeared in the Soviet “New Times” and wonder if you could locate a copy. It is illustrative of the breadth of the distribution program of the smear.
  12. Copies of all fact sheets, letters, etc. that Laurie Ephriam [Efrein] and others made and sent out such as the 30 page document on the “Concerned Relatives”, the analysis of the Kathy Hunter trip, and anything else done to expose the conspiracy.

Page 4

(handwritten note)

Have you evaluated the risk potential for US. policing of Peoples Temple in Guyana?
What is your evaluation? Who did you give it to?

Page 5

Transmittal No. 1.B

List of Research Areas, #1, 9/19/78

Ukiah Police Department
Mendocino County Sheriff Dept.
Santa Rosa Police Dept.
Sonoma County Sheriff Dept.
San Francisco Police Department
Fresno Police Dept.
Los Angeles Police Dept.
Cal. State Highway Patrol (L.A. County)
S.F. Fire Dept. (arson investigation)
Los Angeles Coroners Office (Head Case)
Cal. Attorney General Office
L.A. Attoryne [Attorney] David Kwan

Backgrounds on:
Marshall Kilduff (S.F. Chron.)
Tim Reiterman (S.F. Exam)
George Kleiman [Klineman] (Santa Rosa Press Dem.)
Steve Hart (“ “ “ [Santa Rosa Press Dem.])
Caroline [Carolyn] Pickering (Indianapolis Star)
Larry Hatfield (S.F. Exam.)
Jim Clancy (KTVU)
Phil Tracy (New West Mag.)
E. Cahill Maloney (S.F. Progress)
More Magazine
Newspaper Morgues
Ukiah Daily Journal
Mendocino Grapevine
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
S. F. Chronicle (P.T. and Kinsolving)
S.F. Examiner
S.F. Progress
Bay Guardian
Sun Reporter
Oakland Tribune
Berkeley Barb
Fresno Bee
Sacramento Bee
Long Beach Independent Press Telegram
L.A. Herald Examiner
L.A. Sentinel
New West Magazine
L.A. Times
Peoples World
N.Y. Times
Washington Post
Indianapolis Star
Palladium Item, Richmond, Ind.
Richmond, Ind. Recorder

Page 6

November 6, 1978

Mark Lane
1177 Central Ave.
Memphis, Tennessee

LETTER NO. 2 WITH ‘I’RANSMITTALS

Dear Mark;

I am enclosing a copy of my letter “No. 1” with its included transmittals, and a copy of my letter of Oct.8, 1978 to Terri Buford, with its included list of incidents (somewhat condensed). The October 8 letter was hand delivered [added by hand: to Terri] by Jean Brown when she returned to S.F. She also carried with her a rather large set of biographical statements of residents of Jonestown.

The purpose of this letter is to request some feedback from you with respect to what further materials you may need from me, It is. apparently, unreasonably difficult for the S.F. organisation to [words crossed out, added by hand:] send [illegible] the [words “list of” crossed out] background materials that I requested in my first letter. I can’t do much in the way of detailed work without them [added by hand at bottom of page: so whatever detailed research that is required, must be done here]. What I can do is to prepare a summary history of 20 to 30 pages, and do statements with respect to the “incidents” that I have labeled as “good”. Without forms of affidavits, etc. there is not much else I can do.

Please drop me a line and let me know if this will be satisfactory. If there is something further that would be useful [added by hand below: and that is within our capability, we will oblige please send] specific detail concerning what you might need.

Very truly yours,

Eugene Chaikin

Originally posted on February 17th, 2013.

Last modified on December 26th, 2020.
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