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(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
Other end: (stammers) I might talk to Jean about that, too, because uh she uh, she had said something or other, I go I couldnt follow up on that
Temple end: Mmm-hmm.
Other end: (unintelligible under interruption) would you have any sort of a mailing list, like, Id be interested.
Temple end: All right.
Other end: Okay.
Temple end: Okay, Im sure that we could work something out, that that would certainly be uh, in order, I would feel, you know.
Other end: You know, I, I I dont mean, as I say, anything that will will put anyone to any bother, but just once in a while, Id like to (unintelligible under interruption)
Temple end: Well, thats thats good of you to be interested. Uh-huh. Thats good of you to be interested.
Other end: Okay.
Temple end: All right, sir. All right.
Other end: Thanks a lot.
Temple end: I cant tell you how much I appreciate uh, your thoughts, you know, and your uh, (Pause) uh, the call that you made.
Other end: Oh, well, (unintelligible phrase), the thing has been on my mind, uh, the whole the whole experience, it, it, uh, it its been very important to me. So I I really uh, (Laughs) Im the one Im the one that wants to thank you. (Laughs)
Temple end: Well, (unintelligible word)
Other end: So, anyway, what I appreciate all your help very much.
Temple end: Its a mutual feeling, Mr. (unintelligible name)
Other end: Right. Take care.
Temple end: Thanks a lot.
Other end: Bye-bye.
Temple end: Bye-bye.
(Balance of side one blank)
Temple member: (unintelligible intro) uh, youd be deserving of more than a lot of doctors Ive seen. (Laughs)
Albert Kahn: Well, Id I I only got a Masters degree, I didnt I didnt get (unintelligible word) go to get a doctors degree.
Temple member: Well, I think uh
Kahn: But, Im sorry, you were going to ask a question.
Temple member: Yeah. In your experience is that you seem to be uh, uh, have made a stand, you know, in the past, um, (Pause) for, you know, things that uh, have probably brought you some form of persecution.
Kahn: Well, they, uh, uh, I, I uh, I do have a file among my resource materials, a file of death threats (laughs) that I keep. Uh, the government did uh, at one point take away my passport for ten years. It was at the time they went after Dr. [W.E.B.] Dubois and Paul Robeson and myself, and they did give me a prison sentence, uh, uh, for some things that I uh, was publishing, although they couldnt make it stick, uh, I I had gotten one of McCarthys assistants to confess, and uh, (stammers over words), and when I was about to publish his confession, they tried to put me in jail. It was during the [Joseph] McCarthy period. But uh yeah, Ive had my, my share of it, but uh (Pause) uh, it it uh (Pause) Well, it I and and of course, when I was working as an orig when I was much younger, when I was investigating uh, uh, Nazi espionage and so on in in America, in writing about that, uh, they were they had their own they had a special uh a special group uh, of of of of individuals here who were who were German agents, Nazi agents who just specia theyre specialized in uh, terrorism and sabotage, espionage and and killing, uh, actually uh, I mean uh, uh, they they studied it. They they had a school in Berlin, (short laugh) where they studied techniques and uh, uh, I did expose a number of them, they were arrested ultimately during the war, uh, and and they periodically threaten me and uh, uh, various things of that sort, but (Pause) uh, as as a writer, a wri sometimes in some ways, a writer has some advantages uh the I have been in situations where uh, what I knew of the one thing that kept them from doing anything was that it would have made a uh, uh, (Pause) well, its its bad (Laughs) its bad business sometimes to (Laughs) to kill a journalist or writer, because the press gets so much aroused, you see, uh, e even if they dont agree with you, they they think its a bad thing sort of, if a writer gets killed.
Temple member: Yes, um-hmm.
Kahn: So uh, I sometimes with gangsters and others of a of a high on a higher level, that that that I was that Id got to know over the uh who who was involved Well, with with Henry Ford, uh. Henry Ford had was working very closely with uh, Mafia uh, individual, uh, like, they they they werent Mafia people, actually. But uh and and Im But uh, he used the gangsters to to carry it to when they were trying when the workers were trying to organize the Ford plant, he would have various of the of the leaders of the trade unions killed, literally, assassinated by these uh, these uh, professional killers. And I got to know some of them personally. Uh They never threatened me or anything, although they did kill uh, (stumbles over words) in one case that was certain and in another case that was probable, uh, two individuals who were working with me. Uh But I um (Pause) Uh I I dont I I In recent years, this hasnt I havent (unintelligible word) much, so I didnt you know, it didnt I didnt think much about it then, uh I uh I did not feel of course a a terrible responsibility about what happened to those two individuals The They They One the It was a matter of carelessness, it wasnt anything that I was responsible for, uh, one who would who was giving me various materials, is a very fine fellow in Detroit, uh, on the Ford situation, just did some very foolish things (unintelligible word) uh, that I didnt know anything about, very careless things, and and and and they simply eliminated him. Uh, but Ive been always very conscious of uh None of this in connection with myself, but uh (stumbles over words) the way in which individuals who achieve the prominence and have a mass following, uh, like Jim Jones has, the way in which they are potential targets for uh, for very ruthless forces, and And this is the nut of my I I Ive written about it, and worked on the thing for so long, you know, that it its not its a matter of that I just come to take for granted. It Its uh, uh its part of of the uh, of the ugliness of (laughs) of the world in which were living. Uh, but its part of reality, and and during recent years, of course, uh, weve seen so many instances of it, uh, right here now at home, aside from what we know the CIA has been doing throughout the world in eliminating individuals who they thought had leadership, and the Nazis uh, made a, a very systematic practice of this before the war. They simply uh, tracked down and eliminated as many uh, leaders of anti-fascist movements, for example, as they could. The CIA has done the same thing in the postwar period, uh, like Lumumba [assassinated Premier of the Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba] and others. So it its something that Ive written about and thought about a good deal uh and and uh, you know, when I see a man like that, I think well, he its just its very important that because very frequently, individuals like Jim Jones are careless of themselves. Uh, they think so much about other people, they they dont think its like you say, isnt it, I you speak about the eating, uh, Im quite sure that it also would pertain probably to a mans health, uh I uh
Temple member: Oh yes.
Kahn: got to know [United Farm Workers leader] Cesar Chavez, uh, quite well in recent years, uh, I always noticed he he uh, he never took care of himself in the way he should have. Uh be I I dont
Temple member: We have to constantly uh, remind him to take, you know, things that he needs and uh, its just that he doesnt he doesnt want to take the time, you know, to think about himself, is all its
Kahn: Yeah. Yeah. Well, anyway, I I I I dont I mean, you know you know how valuable he is, so I I dont I certainly dont need to stress that.
Temple member: Well, I appreciate your your saying, in your own words, though, you know, because uh, uh, we have learned to uh, you know we dont we dont show our appreciation enough, surely Im sure, but uh, to to know that we
Kahn: Well, I think that you do. I think you feel it very strongly. Everything I saw, uh, indicated to me, uh, the expression of the love that uh that people had for him, and everything I heard, uh and I I think its I I really think you feel it all very deeply, uh The Sometimes The one thing that sometimes happens is that we who believe in the goodness of men, of mankind in general, sometimes underestimate the evil in other men
Temple member: Mmm. Umm-hmm.
Kahn: Uh uh who are willing to go to any ends, you know, to to maintain their power and (stumbles over words) and who are so corrupt, they it and its it and if theyre willing, as we saw the Nazis were, uh, and as we know the Ku Kluxers and similar elements are in this country, if theyre willing to to do what the Nazis did, you know, to massacre millions of people, they have you see, they have no respect for human life, and uh and they and and theyre theyre not stupid, uh, that is, the ones who the most powerful ones, they they are cunning, uh, you know, they have a (unintelligible word, could be "bestial") sort of cunning, and uh, and and they ha we have we have to be conscious, I feel, all the time of uh, of how ruthless they are. Thats all. And and and and it is part of our work, uh part of your work, uh, I dont I I dont speak now of Jim Jones, but part of uh, of your work as an individual and the members of your movement, I feel, you know, to to understand how dangerous they are uh, how ruthless they are. And where he may be careless with himself, to make absolutely sure that this man is uh is properly protected, uh, at all times that I uh, (Pause) I You know, I I just feel felt this very, very strongly uh, after seeing what I saw, uh, I felt that this was something that was very important for everyone whos who works with him, uh, who who you know, is who who has come to understand what he stands for, and who follows what he believes, I feel that everyone should be very, very conscious of the need to to to guard this man.
Temple member: Uh-huh.
Kahn: And I I And I And I knew you wouldnt think (laughs) that I was uh, presumptuous in in uh, expressing this viewpoint
Temple member: Oh, certainly not. Most certainly not
Kahn: be because I Im sure that I mean I, I mean after all, youre you are thoughtful people and uh and you are aware of of what has happened, and and uh and and and so you must you know, I I know you realize (stumbles over words) similarly that uh, that there are people who uh, who would consider him to be an enemy, and (stumbles over words) and some of them are people who, you know, dont hesitate to use any means
Temple member: Oh, weve had certain hate hatemongers in the past try things, you know, and uh I mean, what youre what youre speaking about, youre speaking about something thats even a greater magnitude uh, uh, more professional, you mean, something like that, that would be Do you see an an element, in other words, that uh, is very capable, and and are ready to do that at any time?
Temple member: Umm-hmm.
Kahn: Yeah, ye and they breed them, you see, I I mean, theyre there are such they have spread such corruption in this society, uh, that uh, they have created all sorts of of people who are sick and distorted, who are demented, who who dont (stumbles over words) I mean, they dont go around doing wha When we moved in here, (stumbles over words) as I mentioned, over in the Valley of the Moon, whe when we moved came up from the East about 18, 19 years ago, and no and no one knew uh You know, people in this country do not read a great deal. In Europe, or in the Soviet Union, and places like that for example, in the Soviet Union, some of my books are are used as textbooks in the schools from one end of the Soviet Union to the other (Laughs), uh, but in this country, even when I write a bestseller, uh, the number of people who whove read it, (stumbles over words) it its remarkable how few people uh, uh, read uh, books in America, uh I When I I Its very rare that I meet anyone in Russia or Poland or any of those countries who And it doesnt matter. It can be a man who is carrying, you know, bags into the hotel or a boy a young man who is cleaning shoes or a taxicab driver, a woman who cleans the room, uh, a waitress, uh I I very rarely meet anyone there who hasnt read something of mine. Well, uh, when I first came here and settled here, the people in the community uh, heard I was a writer. That doesnt mean anything to them. They thought (stumbles over words) Theyd know They didnt know what I had written, exactly, and and I perhaps some of them knew my books had been bestsellers during the anti-fascist period, and uh, and so on and uh, during the war and and some of them still are, but they didnt know what I stood for or what I believed. Uh, then I was called down before one of the I made a number of appearances before the various Senate committees, they were always trying to get me for one thing or another, and I got called down after Id been here maybe six months or a year, and uh, my boys were very young then Ive got three sons and my wife is not a woman who (unintelligible phrase under laugh) shes gone to through too many things, so shes not a woman who gets nervous about anything anyway, but I was in uh After I had go gone before this committee, I went to New York to have a a discussion about a new book with my publisher, and the news of my appearance before the committee, and the accusations which were lies that were made against me, had gotten back into the newspapers here, and one night, my wife called me up and it turned out there was a gang here and they were coming to burn to rock out the house, they call em, and actually to burn it down, but she never wouldve shes not the sort of person that would call me because of nervousness, uh, she was very cool, calm about it, but she said, I think you better cancel your conferences with the publisher and fly home. And I got home I got home in time uh, to get things under control, and to set up in the commune and it was a very interesting experience in the end, uh, but uh, the they uh you know, its its ignorant. The people who were doing it and I got to know, and and became friends with some of the people who were in that vigilante gang later on, I mean Id go fishing with them, I I could My My boys were very little then, they had they were, you know, six, seven, eight years old, they couldnt have done anything to to protect my wife, uh A couple of very, very, uh, good conservative uh, church-going citizens whod heard this thing was underway had come to the house. One of them was staying here all night to in case anything had happened that night, that particular night. And But when I got back, I Id found out that among many of these people, it was a matter of pure ignorance, and I got to know some of them, uh, but I did find out also the the ones who had instigated the thing and they were well-to-do, uh, there were two or three of them, uh, well-to-do former Army men uh, who live in the hills here, have big estates, are retired, and who maintain contact with the intelligence operations in uh, in Washington. One of them has been an adviser to the Secret Service of [Republic of China President] Chiang Kai-shek. And they had organized, they had uh, without getting their own they they like to keep their own hands quote clean. So they just passed the word down to these people who were ignorant and so on and so forth, that I was a dangerous uh, uh, uh, a foreign spy or something, you know, (Laughs) a communist agent of the Kremlin or something, and and these people who were it was like I dont think actually they it was not, really, in that they were not an organized hate group, but there were enough of them who were ignorant who could be mobilized by one guy who was a member of the Birch Soci well, hes a leader of the [John] Birch Society (unintelligible word), uh, and he was in the National Guard and so on, and and he got this group together. It it in the end, as I say, I managed to squash the thing, but they the they have plenty of people around who are so uh, uninformed and so ready to hate because you know, sometimes because they themselves are poor and suffering (unintelligible word under interruption)
Temple member: Hmm. Surprising, isnt it.
Kahn: You know?
Temple member: Umm-hmm.
Kahn: They want to blame They feel they have to blame someone, they dont know who to blame. So its easy to direct their hatred You take in the South, uh, where I spend quite a bit of time now, I meet very poor white people who are living as no one should have to live, uh, and who who just hate the poor black people in a way thats unbelievable, and theyre taught to do this, because that keeps them divided. If they ever became united, and understood they have the same problems, and the same enemy
Temple member: Yes
Kahn: uh, then (laughs) then theyd represent a menace, so theyre deliberately kept divided, and these hate groups are deliberately cultivated. So these hate groups are something that would be directed against a movement uh, such as yours, uh But anyway, uh, I uh As I say, the thing is that I felt I felt the value of this man so much that I did want to speak with someone like (Stumbles over words) not only wanted to thank you for for your for your help but uh, but also speak to you about that angle. I I had a feeling if I said anything (laughs) to Jim Jones, hed probably be just as careless about himself as he ever was before.
Temple member: (Laughs)
Kahn: But uh uh (stumbles over words) I will be writing him about a couple of other things, cause I want to thank him very much for the experience, and uh
Temple member: Well, that would be very sweet of you. Im sure that hed be really be glad to hear from you.
Kahn: Well, Ill Ill Ill Ill be getting off a letter to him in a day or so.
Temple member: Well, thatd be so good. I I I dont know, I uh I think all of us were touched by your uh, humbleness and your uh, depth of feeling that you have, and uh, not youre not alone. Your knowledge and experience, you know, the things youve been through and um, feeling for people, and so is our pastor. Very Very touched, as you saw him, very touched. So
Kahn: Well, you know, its a mutual uh I Im very Im very gratified to hear that. I I must say that, for me, its To to have this sort of experience is uh, is something that is immensely rewarding because uh, uh, he spoke about loneliness, and uh, I dont feel lonely in a way, because Id I when I write, I fe I am writing to many people across the world who speak with On the other hand, a writers life is lonely. You sit in a room, and when youre working on a book its very difficult for me to write and and uh, I may work two or three years on a book, and when Im going out and getting the material, Im meeting many people and so on and so forth, and I do some and I am a member of the World Peace Council, so Im traveling and organized organizing in that way, but when youre actually writing the book, you are alone, and for hours and hours and hours, days and days, and and months and months, and uh, the opportunity of coming in contact with people like yourselves is uh, tremendously uh, helpful and inspiring to me, its a source of sustenance, of food, I Literally, I I mean And and and when I go under the uh this when I go down South and meet a man uh, such as the one I spoke about, uh, in that prison, uh, and I meet many like that who are so noble, wonderful persons, I uh and to to know about them and to be with them, you see, is Without that contact, uh, I uh my work would be uh, impos impossible for me to write uh, because they give me Whatever strength I have uh, comes from them, and I I learn I mean, I Ive learned a great deal from, from being with, with your people and uh, so uh, you know, and I I (stumbles over words) I was very sorry my sons were not there. Im going to arrange for for them to uh, come to some of your other meetings.
Temple member: Oh, thats kind of you.
Kahn: I have two of them in the uh Well, it would be very, very good for them, Im thinking of their welfare, uh, uh, there are two of them who live in in in the West here. Theyre in their late twenties, early thirties now, uh
Temple member: I think wed be pleased to meet them, Im su sure
Kahn: Yeah, oh, theyre fine guys. And it one of them One of them, by the way, is has been in prison a number of times, he was uh, uh, all but all of his sentences were for uh, participating in demonstrations against discrimination.
Temple member: Hmm.
Kahn: Uh, they were all Dur During the per when he was trying they were trying to get equal employment for blacks and uh, and and and other minority groups, uh, uh, and he was in peace demonstrations and so on and then and and I and he was re you know, a number of times, uh, put in jail for this sort of thing. Uh, hes a fine fellow. And uh, the uh but uh they it would be very, very good for them to see uh, your people and to be among them, so I Im Ive already told uh, told em about what a wonderful experience Ria, my wife, has too. But Ive taken up about half of your morning, now, so (Laughs)
Temple member: Well, its a plea its a pleasure talking to you, Mr. Kahn, I
Kahn: Well, I I really want I really want to uh, uh, thank you again for for your thoughtfulness uh uh
Temple member: Well, again, I must say, that it was uh, my pastor, it was Jim Jones that uh, thought and asked me to go down quickly to see that you had uh, pillows to rest on, to be comfortable and as I anything that you needed uh, he said, be sure that its taken care of immediately. So
Kahn: Well, it he hes an extraordinary man. Wonderfully, wonderfully thoughtful. (Word unintelligible under interruption)
Temple member: He
Kahn: I mean, you youre very fortunate to be involved in in such work and
Temple member: Yes
Kahn: And I feel from our brief acquaintanceship, hes hes fortunate to have you with him.
Temple member: Well, I dont know, I I I know that uh, (laughs) it would be a very, very dismal life without him. I know that.
Kahn: Well, you see, you find what has what has happened, really, is, if I could sum it up (unintelligible phrase) when I was talking to students here uh, at uh, Sonoma State just a month ago, and and and what I said was you have a man has to find a purpose in his life, uh, and youve found it. But and if you dont find a purpose in your life, then its gone. I I You know, and life is a very, very precious thing, (stumbles over words) and what you have is the richest possession that anyone could have. And and thats the purpose that you have.
Temple member: Yes, indeed.
Kahn: (unintelligible word under interruption) And and and as you say, hes the one who is who has helped you find it.
Temple member: Yes, thats true. And so many others, you know
Kahn: Right. Right, right. Well
Temple member: And it seems like he never runs out of time to uh, to talk with people, you know, he he never turns anyone away, and uh, hes never to busy to meet a human need, you know, how how very minute it might seem. Hes very much interested in feeling has a depth of feeling for people, you know, and their feelings.
Temple member: All the time.
Kahn: Well, it hes a he hes a he is a really most unique.
Temple member: I sure
Kahn: Anyway, I I uh It was It was good to hear your voice again, and and well be in touch, because uh, I I uh having having now found uh, your movement and what it is, I I shall not wonder whos the contact for them.
Temple member: Well, I cant say, you know, how much I appreciate you calling and your concern for our pastors welfare. It was very well received. I Ill pass it on, and I appre
Kahn: Very good. Ah, very good
Temple member: precitate your calling, and do keep in touch.
Kahn: (unintelligible under Temple member) You take care of yourself, too.
Temple member: I will, sir.
Temple member: You do the same, will you?
Kahn: Right. You bet.
Temple member: Thank you so much.
Kahn: Bye-bye. Right. Bye-bye.
Temple member: Bye-bye.
End of tape
Tape originally posted September 2003