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(Note: This tape was transcribed by Seriina Covarrubias. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Typewriter in background for much of tape
Jones: (unintelligible opening) informed Foreign Minister [Fred] Wills I have had some health problems as of late, manifested in this slight heart attack, (clears throat) and some other secondary problems, all of which I’m sure are primarily caused by tensions. I felt it was my duty to inform you, Doctor Reid [Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana], of every facet of my life, and have s- done so except for this one painful chapter that has to do with a child [John Victor Stoen]that I parented in a rather strange situation. However, it came about for all the highest of altruistic reasons.
Some years ago – about five to be exact, five and a half – assistant district attorney who is a member of our church, Timothy Stoen, came to me and other members of our governing body, which is a central committee that governs all of our churches, and stated that his wife [Grace Stoen]was quite likely to commit treason, and he gave us a background of her obviously reactionary connections, in that her family were known bigots and had influence in reactionary circles. I had known privic- uh, prior to this time that his wife, Mrs. Stoen, seemed to have some sexual interest in me. He confirmed that matter and asked me to try to keep her in our church by that means. After much consultation with our central committee, it was concluded that she was indeed a potential traitor of the first magnitude. Thus I went into this painful ordeal, and I do declare it was painful. She repulsed me, but somehow I managed to get into a situation the like of which I have never experienced before and hope in the depth of my being I never have to endure again.
Out of this unholy union came a beautiful son. Of course my wife [Marceline Jones] was consulted about the situation before it began and she too agreed that we should attempt to utilize whatever method – short of violence certainly – that was necessary to keep this woman, because she was making various threats that, unless I showed her some attention, she was going to do one thing or another of a devious nature. I took every precaution. I used preventatives, and supposedly she did too, but something went amok and she conceived. We urged her not to consider giving birth to the child, but it was obvious she would break under the mental pressure if we insisted to impose our views upon her. So the child came. We have uh, a statement from the father – legal father, that is – under penalty of perjury, which he chose to volunteer himself, verifying this thing. You also have a copy of the papers still showing that he is fighting this battle against reactionary adverses- adversaries with us.
Anyway, I feel that it’s very important that I lay this matter out to you. There’s no other secret that I can possibly think of that I need to tell you, nothing at all about my life that would cause you any embarrassment. Oddly enough, all of the sources know – or the primary sources who have managed to masquerade their true character and get into our inner church circles – know this situation with my son John, but apparently there’s been some arrangement made by the media not to print any of it, because they’re attempting to use Mrs. Stoen as a tool to bring us down by her lies. As the youngsters would say in the inner cities, her trickeration. It’s even been reported that they have offered her immunity if they could get the law enforcement agencies forced into a position into calling a grand jury hearing. Mrs. Stoen probably would be a willing liar, in that she stated in the articles that was written against us that she had never been a follower. If it were not so painful, it would be laughable. We also have fairly reliable information that law enforcement agencies are resisting this attempt on the part of the limited sector of the reactionary media in the uh, Bay Area of California to get a grand jury hearing.
Needless to say, this is the reason why I’m staying close to our new home of Guyana these days. A court ordered her- did not- did not order her- correct, I correct that. They gave her temporary custody but refused to give an order to this country’s courts to return the child. The judge heard in private chambers the background and in the past has been most empathic towards our work. He had no alterative but to grant her custody. However, as Doctor Wills pointed out, the courts of California have no jurisdiction over the courts of Guyana. I might say that it is one of my counselors who’s volunteered time and has represented every progressive person in the United States for many years, uh, Charles Garry, who recommends strongly that I not return, because if I were, I would lose this child. Even though the woman- the very thought of her now is so painful that I can barely stand it. Even though she repulses me, I love this child deeply, and she has now shown her true reactionary colors and gone back to her bigoted families who are openly racistic. I would rather die than see the child brought up in such an environment.
That is why it was a great relief to hear from Doctor Wills- or Prime Min- or Foreign Minister Wills, that there would be no ex- expedition of a single one of us. Every person is here by legal auth- proper legal authorization. Every child. We would not dream of bringing anyone into this country otherwise. All of the sources of these articles, to the last person, are guilty of criminal acts. The Mertles [Elmer and Deanna Mertle, aka Al and Jeannie Mills], you have no doubt read some of the articles, tried to blackmail us for 35,000 dollars, threatening to lie against us if we did not pay it. Linda Dunn attempted blackmail for ten thousand. Philips, known emulator of Adolf Hitler, the Cobbs [Jim and Terri Cobb] and the Touchette relative [Mickey Touchette] were involved in terrorism, either as provocateurs because they had planned terrorist acts that our church board discovered and at that time demanded that they disavow violence or that- be expelled from the church. They refused. They had made gun- uh, made ammunition and had ma- contrived some kind of explosives in a wild-haired scheme to blow up some bridge that had absolutely no relevance and is contrary to every one of our principles. We believe vi- violence to be counterproductive to bring about socialism in today’s world. We’ve always been pacifistically-oriented weakly in our conscience. I could go on and name these various sources, but I don’t think uh, we should take your time. You’ve had enough pressure as a result of this whole conspiracy, and that’s exactly what it is, as the letter accommodating this will portray to you.
I might say that we have had a groundswell of supporters. All our original supporters are with us, and even more are joining the ranks into the number of a few thousand, which includes Lieutenant Governor [Mervyn] Dymally, the black legislative caucus, Willie Brown, most prominent black legislator in the west, numerous churches of all denominations, the head of the Council of Churches, and uh- the Council of Churches of the Bay Area and Northern California, that is. It is- it is important every person of the progressive le- uh, left, and even the radical left, such as Angela Davis and all parties, uh- or movements concerned about socialistic change in the country and offer their support. Angela Davis just called yesterday, asking to do whatever she could. Dennis Banks, who’s head of the American Indian Movement- Well, the list is endless.
I am not a person that could be in anyway beguiled by sexual approaches. The reason I am certain that John is my son, is that the st- resemblances are absolutely convincing to everyone that has looked at him and myself. My baby pictures and his present appearance are almost identical. This is a hell unparalleled to me, to have a child that I have no legal jurisdiction over. However, the father – legal father – has pledged to do whatever he could to guarantee- guarantee the safety of the child here and originally came with the child when he was brought to this bright new future of living in the Socialist Republic of Guyana.
To make up for any difficulties that we have m- cost, we have been for weeks attempting to assist this northwest region in every way possible. Not only by producing the agricultural project as rapidly as possible in developing poultry and pig farming and now beginning cattle raising. We have distributed untold amount- amounts of food to every resident in the port and other areas in the Northwest District. This week alone, we gave out hundreds of pounds of fish, cassava, and just today, a few thousand pounds of rice, because we had been informed that there was a shortage presently in the area. The residents, to the last person, received it and responded graciously. We said this is all made possible because your government allowed us to be able to produce the agricultural project. We also gave butter freely to the school and have offered them flour and pigs, as they have requested.
Our medical facilities are second to none, our doctor, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, give checkups to every resident of this community at least every two months and every person gets a routine checkup every week. I’m- I- I- by that I mean TPR, temperatures, pulse, respirations, and blood pressure checkups. They’re also reaching out into the community to many emergencies that have been brought to our attention. We’ve done a significant work to reduce gastroenteritis- interitis- which is of course primarily caused because of- just lack of knowledge, not limitation of food. We used to have numerous children that were in the position of being nearly terminal. Now we have not had a case in a few weeks, or a few- uh, two weeks at least, reported to us of gastroenteritis.
We’ve integrated our beautiful Guyanese neighbors into our community. We’ve adopted several children, or in the process of doing so. With this last week, we took a child who was brought to us by the ambassador’s wife from Guyana to the United Nations. She and the delegation seemed to be indeed impressed with our project. People come almost daily, from various ministries and organizations. Last week we had a tour of some 60 students, and all go away delighted with what they see. Even a British delegation not long ago came through, and there was a report of it in the British press about the good achievements that was going on in this agricultural project.
I hesitate taking your time, but for some days we have had rumors from party officials and members of the community- that C- Comrade Carmichael [Fitz Uriel Alexander Carmichael, Guyana Ministry of Forestry] and Lambert were attempting to discredit our programs, and, in fact, it was more severe than that, that they were vicious enemies. However, I must state unequivocally, that in their contact with us, they’ve always been very friendly and seemingly helpful. A few days ago it was rumored that they were going to come – or they were going to cause investigators to come – to check out some ridiculous falsehood that’d been- had been told in the States, the- by the reactionary press, that we discipline people by letting them work in deep pits. Then two days ago, Comrade Lambert approached us with the same information, saying that they were going to come and check it out. One official said, the party, I believe a party official, according to some of our leadership here, stressed that we should bury the hole. And let me explain that hole. It’s a garbage pit, every bit of which was dug out by a backhoe, totally by mechanical means. I said, we cannot afford this kind of uh- move and we have nothing to hide. Garbage was uh, refuge was clearly in the bottom of it, and we said we welcome anyone who’s interested to come out and check this out.
However, the way it was checked out, to many of us, was very disturbing. The police came up with a gentleman – I believe his name was Potmore – who represented himself as being from Home Affairs Office in Georgetown. According to those who met him, including one of my black adopted sons Johnny [Brown Jones], he was grossly unfriendly. He was offered one of our delightful juices. He refused to take it. He immediately went off on his own into the fields, which we paid little heed to because we thought he wished to talk to our workers. But the ruse of their coming was that they were concerned about some of our tools, which had been stolen, numbering up into the thousands of dollars. Such incidents, by the way I should stress, are highly unusual. Finally though, he asked to take a picture with several of our people in the- in the portrait, and he showed friendliness at that moment. He got into the group which included my son and I don’t know who all, but the interestingpart was that he took this picture fifty or sixty feet away from the mound of clay that been dug out mechanically by the backhoe for our garbage pit. This caused considerable apprehension and concern – deep concern – in our co- community, because many had heard all of these rumors. And to think that he would deal with this in such a subtle way – which of course was not subtle at all, it was pretty obvious – we felt that surely the years of our service here would merit enough trust to be upfront about such an inquiry.
He left without even waving at the people although the two police people, persons, were very friendly and I’m not at all sure from the reports I received they even knew what was going on. This gave us considerable apprehension in that one party official said that he, Mr. Potmore, was a high official himself. It seems strange to us that anyone in this great socialist nation would dignify the reports all based on lies and prov- provocateurs that came from the United States.
There was some mention in the United States that we used discipline, as I recall, I can’t keep up with all the press, in such a manner, by having people dig out our garbage pits and the uh, pits for our- our toilets. Patently untrue, just as the charges of corporal punishment, patently untrue. We have never used physical violence, we absolutely do not spank people. We find the better system is denial of privileges and rewards for good behavior. Obviouslydiscipline is necessary when you are attempting to produce for this country’s great goals of feeding and clothing and housing the nation. Also, as is very apparent, that if there wereany disciplinarian tactics of an inhuman nature, we would not have uh, what I gather is over 700 people, they are happy and contented in our Jonestown community. We have no guards. It’s easy to walk to Port Kaituma and catch a boat, or go by the railroad, any number of ways a person could leave this place, but through these years only two have chosen to do so, both of which were helped by our church to return to the United States.
I don’t want to take more of your time. I am sure that you are aware of the devastation that reactionary media can bring and know full well its devious means, as exhibited in the United States, to undermine organizations such as ours. It was evident in the McCarthyism in the 50’s and the genocidic ways against such groups as the Black Panthers and others in the 60’s. Now, many people, journalists who have written us on the side, and even some who – of the Establishment press – who promised to do something later when the dust settles to help our cause, to bring out the real truth about us, to override all of this smear, which I tell you has been nothing but absolute lies. But many of these journalists and many leaders in our United States feel that this is the beginning of a Neo-McCarthyism that will make the McCarthyism of the 50’s pale by comparison.
As I’ve told you in our various meetings of the past racism in the United States at the grass roots level is growing at a frightening rate. Twenty-two- 20 or 22 new chapters of the Ku Klux Klan have been formed in recent weeks in California.
Andy Young [Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations] has been singled out for attack by the same media that uh, have been attacking us of late. Also, an appeal for his dismissal is being circulated with such eminent sponsors in government as the governor of New Hampshire [Meldrim Thomson, Jr.]. It’s been reported to me, by journalist, it has already gained five hundred thousand signatures. It is cushioned in the most horrid rhetoric, which you can imagine, accusing Andy Young of being a supporter of bloody terrorist, and having communist connections, and everything else degrading that they can possibly conceive to say about him.
So we’re not alone in this struggle. We’re pleased to tell you that there are many who are moderates, cross section of every denomination leadership, that is. I can’t think of a denomination that is not represented in some way in solidarity with us, who see this for what it is. Even though they may not have a socialist philosophy, they realize that we are the victims of a total smear. Thank you for your indulgence of this tape. I want them to play it for you so you could get a better feel of the situation about John, because it’s my duty to keep you informed of everything about us. Let me reassure you that we will support your borders, our borders, with our lives to the last woman, man, and child. We have taken that type of vote. We also took a vote we would rather die than return to United States, and that was supported by all except two, and their dissent was not registered on displeasure with our community. They felt that there were things they might be able to do to help bring about revolutionary change in the United States.
We have suffered too much. The pain has been staggering. Our buildings have been burned, assassination attempts on myself and my child and other leaders, and the threats of assassination are just too numerous for me to even recall. We’re with you, Doctor Reid. We are with Guyana, the Peoples National Con- Congress. We are for socialism, body, mind, and soul, and we certainly can provide a solid basis of support because of the cohesiveness, the cohesiveness of our group. Please feel free to call upon us at any time.
End of tape
Tape originally posted February 2005