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 Individuals Speaking
FBI Catalogue Identified Individuals Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Tracs 90/ “Call to George Hunter 9/28/77” in envelope
Date cues on tape: Date consistent with tape contents
George Hunter, Ukiah newspaper editor (speaks)
Pat Finnegan, attorney representing Tim Stoen
Jeffrey Haas, attorney for Stoens in custody battle
Vincent Hallinan, San Francisco attorney
Temple members not in Jonestown:
Sandy Bradshaw (speaks)
John Victor Stoen
Bible verses cited: None
In September 1977, the whereabouts of Tim Stoen were unknown to Peoples Temple. The leadership did know that the attorney and trusted aide to Jim Jones had turned against them – he has united forces with his former wife Grace to secure the return of John Victor Stoen from Jonestown, and has a lawyer who has traveled to Guyana to try to enforce a California state court order directing Jones to return the boy to the U.S. – but the depths of his perceived betrayal and his location has eluded the Temple for months.
This tape consists of two parts – both related to Tim Stoen – with a snippet of unrelated telephone conversation in between. The first is a newscast describing the unsuccessful efforts of the Stoens’ attorney Jeffrey Haas to persuade a Guyana court to enforce a judicial ruling by a California court.
The bulk of the tape is a phone call which Sandy Bradshaw – a Temple leader in San Francisco – makes to George Hunter, a still-friendly newspaper editor (that relationship would irrevocably change within six months) to give him the Temple’s perspective on the custody battle. Bradshaw asserts, not only that the court order was illegal, but that the judge had been paid to rule that way. There is “big money” behind the custody efforts, she says, and while she expresses her belief that the conspiracy against the Temple had spread to Guyana, as evidenced by two attempts on Jones’ life in recent weeks, “we’re not sure how [the court order] all ties in with the total conspiracy.”
“Where is Tim Stoen?” the editor interrupts her a moment later, and the question is never answered. Bradshaw replies three different ways: “Tim Stoen is not here right now,” is her immediate reply; “Tim has been traveling quite a bit,” she adds a moment later to explain his silence; and finally, when Hunter reports that Stoen had told the reporter “that he was planning going back to New York City,” Bradshaw agrees, “the last I knew he was in New York City, and then I know he was looking into different things needed for the project.”
Stoen apparently spoke to Hunter, when he sat down with the editor for an interview about a week earlier – much more recently than he has checked in with the Temple – during which the lawyer talked about filing a suit against another newspaper. Hunter has now received word that Stoen will not pursue the suit after all and presses Bradshaw as to why he changed his mind. She insists she doesn’t know, but adds, “I do know his action was independent. It was not a church action.” As with the questions about Stoen’s location, the editor never hears a satisfactory answer about the lawsuit, no matter how many different ways he asks them.
In the midst of the conversation – and completely without context – Bradshaw volunteers a longstanding Temple tenet that Jones has always supported the First Amendment rights of the press. The assertion seems leaden and heavy-handed, and Hunter calls her on it. “I hardly think that’s appropriate,” he replies. “I should think that the relationship that this newspaper’s had with the church and with Tim would be paramount to even freedom of the press.” He doesn’t pursue the subject beyond that.
The conversation closes with Hunter’s observation that “I’m extremely anxious to talk to [Stoen].” The same could be said for Sandy Bradshaw and the rest of the Temple leadership.
Date of transcription: 3/29/79
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 March 8, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B62-26. This tape was found to contain the following:
Side A – News Report
Telephone Conversation Between SANDY BRADSHAW and Mr. HUNTER (Identified as an editor in Mendocino County).
Side B – Blank.
Nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of Congressman RYAN.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2013