Q629 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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FBI Catalogue : Unidentified persons

FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Tracs 90/Chester Hartman

Date cues on tape : Summer 1977, as Marshall Kilduff collects information for story about Peoples Temple which eventually ran in New West

People named :

Public figures/National and international names:

Marshall Kilduff, author of New West article (#3-#5)
Ukiah Daily Journal publisher George Hunter (unconfirmed; first name George, with Ukiah press) (#3) (speaks)
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tim Reiterman (unconfirmed; first name Tim, at San Francisco Chronicle) (#3)
Howard Wallace, gay activist in San Francisco (#2)
Dave Whitaker, identity unknown (#5)

Temple members:

Mike Prokes (#1-#5) (speaks)

Bible verses cited : None


This tape consists of five phone calls, the last four of which are between Peoples Temple press spokesman Mike Prokes and different news reporters who have covered the Temple. The conversations reveal the activity going on below the immediate surface of the Temple’s public response to the New West article by Marshall Kilduff, an article which helped precipitate the mass – and some might say, premature – migration of Temple members to Guyana. Members of the Temple, especially Prokes, engage in a combination of information gathering on Kilduff (i.e, what the freelance reporter is asking, what he has already seen), damage control on what has already come out, a counter-attack on Kilduff’s ethics and professionalism, and hints of a possible news story – a lawsuit – to keep the press’ interest in the Temple’s point of view alive.

In Part 4 of this tape, Prokes speaks with the same reporter as he does in Part 3 of Tape Q 630.

Tape Q 665 includes similar phone calls between Prokes and members of the press and attorney, although it was likely made a few weeks later.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 3/16/79

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.

On 3/7/79, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B47 # 74. This tape was found to contain the following:

Apparent recordings of telephone conversations regarding a writer from the San Francisco Examiner [Chronicle] who was doing an article on the People’s Temple and was gathering information apparently in an unprofessional manner. People’s Temple was considering suing.

Nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of the murder of Congressman RYAN.

Differences with FBI Summary: None

Tape originally posted January 1999