Q1290 Transcript

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(This tape was obtained from the U.S. State Department under the Freedom of Information Act by Josef Dieckman, who also transcribed it. The editors of the site gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistant in both obtaining and transcribing this tape.)

(Phone being dialed and rings)

Ambassador John Burke: Yup.

Douglas Ellice: Sir, a very strange message– uh, seemingly some sort of encryption. Hold on a second. [covers mouthpiece, pauses] I’ll call you right back, sir.

(Phone being dialed and rings)

Burke: Yup.

Ellice: Sir, have you got a pencil and paper? [Pause]

Burke: Yeah.

Ellice: I should read this to you, but I don’t know what it means. And if there’s any more, I’ll just drop the phone and try to get it, if you don’t mind. Uh– Three people were asked to receive this and no one else. And when they were assembled, it was, “A lot of people have seen–”
Burke: Pardon?

Ellice: “A lot of people have seen Mr. Fraser. [pause] I think Mrs. Brownfield has offered to help.” [Editor’s note: Temple Radio Codebook translates these two phrases to mean, “People have died,” and “Do whatever you can to even the score”]

Burke: “A lot of people have seen Mr. Fraser. I think Mrs.–”

Ellice: [interrupting] Excuse me, sir.

[Shortwave radio in background, largely unintelligible]

Ellice: Mrs. Gilliam [phonetic], they’re talking about. Just a second.

Shortwave: (female speaker) Um, we do, we do, we do. [pause] But, uh– we, we’re, we’re trying– [unintelligible]

[long pause, extraneous talking in room]

Ellice: Sir, [unintelligible] seems to be more to this. Maybe I better call you in another minute or two.

Burke: Okay.

Ellice: If you don’t mind.

[recording drops, then picks up again]

Female: Hello?

Unknown male 1: Hello, is Doug there?

Female: Yes, just a minute sir.

Unknown male 1: Thank you. (Pause)

Ellice: Yes, sir. (Pause) Hello?

Unknown male 1: Hello, Doug?

Ellice: Yes.

Unknown male 1: Our latest information is that, uh– the uh, they still are on the ground up there.

Ellice: Okay, good. Thanks a lot. Try to keep me posted. There may be trouble up there.

Unknown male 1: Okay. Talk to you later.

Ellice: There may be some sort of problem up there.

[Phone hangs up. Phone being dialed and rings)

Burke: Yes.

Ellice: I’ll try again. Uh, “A lot of people have seen Mr. Fraser.”

Burke: Yeah.

Ellice: “I think Mrs. Brownfield has offered to help.”

Burke: [repeating back] –Brownfield has offered to help.

Ellice: “She’s three”– or perhaps it was, “free.”

Burke: Three or free.

Ellice: Right. “Get SB– ” or perhaps it was, “FB– to help and get all the other folks.” And then there was something about, “Hey, I’ve got an idea, how about Mrs. Gilliam?” And they said, “Yeah, get her too.” It– It’s some obvious sort of code and it sounds– sounds very, very strange. Uh– just wh– when these people were standing by to receive this message, they were told to clear the radio room and uh, only have certain personnel there. They called up and said, “Yeah, we heard– GDF at Ogle has heard something about a problem at Port Kaituma.” So maybe something going on up there.

Burke: Hmm.

Ellice: SB could be a “Special Branch”. Mrs. Gilliam could be GDF. I don’t know, may- But– I– it’s an obvious encryption. I’m not reading something into it, ‘cause they’ve been talking in the clear all day.

Burke: Yeah, yeah.

Ellice: This means something.

Burke: Okay.

Ellice: But it seems to be calling for action on this end, because it was upstairs that was calling, and they asked for certain parties here to copy the message and no one else so–

Burke: Yeah. Yeah.

Ellice: Maybe they’re planning something for the airport.

Burke: Yeah. Okay, nothing, uh– I–

Ellice: We still don’t know who’s coming out though.

Burke: Well I tried to get, uh– I tried to get Peter Londono [phonetic] but, uh, that number you gave me at GAC, and he wasn’t there. Uh–

Ellice: He just called me, and said he doesn’t know anything except that the plane is still on the ground at Port Kaituma.

Burke: Oh, it’s still on the ground?

Ellice: Yes. And I’m not sure how–

Burke: What he told me is he didn’t have an ETA or anything.

Ellice: Well, they may be having some sort of a hassle out there at the airstrip.

Burke: Yeah. Okay.

Ellice: I’ll continue–

Burke: Yeah.

Ellice: –transcribing this–

Burke: Well, if Peter calls again, ask him to call me, hmm?

Ellice: Okay, I told him to attempt to verify whether or not the plane was in the air and to let me know, but I’ll tell him to call you when he calls me.

Burke: [speaks over Ellice] Yeah, well, have– have him call me.

Ellice: Will do, sir.

[phone hangs up]

Ellice: Hello?

Reese: Uh, Doug Ellice, please.

Ellice: Yeah. This is he.

Reese: This is Dennis Reece.

Ellice: Hi, Dennis.

Reese: I heard a cryptic message on the radio that sounded like it was for me, I’m not sure. But anyway, I called Sharon Amos, and uh, they’ve had no contact with Jonestown.

Ellice: Okay. Good. Thank you very much.

Reese: All right. You wanna call me back about the other thing [unintelligible]

Ellice: Right– uh– Peter thinks the planes may still be on the ground at Kaituma.

Reese: Oh, really?

Ellice: Yeah. I’ll uh– I’ll keep you posted as I find out what’s going on.

Reese: Okay.

Ellice: You might call Sharon periodically and ask her to call up and see whether or not the planes have left.

Reese: Yeah.

Ellice: ‘Cause if they would know inside whether or not the planes had taken off. Why don’t you ask her that?

Reese: No, they haven’t had any contact.

Ellice: Well, ask her to try to contact them and see whether or not the planes have left on schedule.

Reese: You mean contact Sharon–

Ellice: Hmm–

Reese: Here–

Ellice: Yeah, or– or wait ten minutes and bug her again. But uh, I wanna know– I’d like her to call Jonestown and find out what’s going on.

Reese: Yeah, she’s trying to but [unintelligible string] generator problem or something, they haven’t been able to get radio contact with them. [Pause]

Ellice: Yeah, except that’s not true.

Reese: Oh, it isn’t?

Ellice: No. [Pause]

Reese: Oh, well– [unintelligible]

Ellice: Ask– ask her if she can find out whether or not the planes have left on schedule.

Reese: Okay.

Ellice: Thanks a lot.

Reese: Uh-huh. Bye.

[phone hangs up]

Ellice: Hello?

Joseph Hartmann: Hi, Doug.

Ellice: Hi.

Hartmann: Joe Hartmann here.

Ellice: Hi.

Hartmann: Uh– they haven’t gotten any confirmation on the flight coming in from uh, Fort Kaituma.

Ellice: I know. There’s a possibility they’re all still on the ground up there.

Hartmann: Why?

Ellice: I don’t know. That’s what I’d love to find out. Is there any radio contact from [unintelligible name] here to their own plane?

Hartmann: No.

Shortwave: Okay, I talked to–

Ellice: ‘K, I’ll see ya later–

Shortwave: I talked to– [unintelligible]

Hartmann: Okay.

[phone hangs up]

Mrs. Ellice: Hello.

English: Hello? Is, uh, Doug Ellice there?

Mrs. Ellice: Yes. Who’s calling, please?

English: Franklin English.

Mrs. Ellice: All right. Just a minute, please. [To Doug off the phone: “Franklin English.” Answer from Ellice: “Tell him to call me back in five minutes”]


Mrs. Ellice: De– uh, Frank?

English: Yes.

Mrs. Ellice: Is it urgent?

English: Uh– no–

Mrs. Ellice: He’s very busy right now. Uh, can he call you back in five minutes later?

English: Okay, ask him to call me when he’s free.

Mrs. Ellice: All right– [unintelligible]

English: Okay– Bye.

Mrs. Ellice: Will do.

[phone hangs up]

Mrs. Ellice: Hello?

Hartmann: Hi. Is Doug there?

Mrs. Ellice: Yes. Who’s calling, please?

Hartmann: Joe Hartmann.

Mrs. Ellice: All right. Uh, Joe, he said he’s uh– He can’t talk right now. Uh– He can’t talk right now. He’s busy on somethin’.

Hartmann: Okay.

Mrs. Ellice: Uh–

Hartmann: Have him call me back as soon as he can.

Mrs. Ellice: Well, you want me to take a message [unintelligible] what, uh– What can I, uh, [unintelligible] for you?

Hartmann: All right. I just– All right. I just found out that, uh, the reason that the planes haven’t taken off–

Mrs. Ellice: Yeah–

Hartmann: –was because it was reported that there’s been some kind of a shooting.

Mrs. Ellice: Oh no!

Hartmann: Huh?

Mrs. Ellice: You sure?

Hartmann: I’m just telling you what I heard.

Mrs. Ellice: Right, right. Because that’s what he’s been busy about. Okay, repeat. It’s some kind of a shooting?

Hartmann: Yes.

Mrs. Ellice: Okay.

Hartmann: That’s what I heard.

Mrs. Ellice: Okay, okay–

Hartmann: But I don’t– I can’t confirm that being true or not.

Mrs. Ellice: Yes, it could be true, because stranger things have gone on here. That’s why he can’t leave the radio– I mean, you know–

Hartmann: All right, I’m comin’ over to your place.

Mrs. Ellice: Right.

Hartmann: Okay. Bye.

Mrs. Ellice: Okay. Bye.

[phone hangs up]

Mrs. Ellice: Hello.

Jim Schollaert: Hello. Is Doug there?

Mrs. Ellice: Who’s calling, please?

Schollaert: Jim Schollaert.

Mrs. Ellice: Okay, just a minute please. [speaking in the background, unintelligible] Jim Schollaert.

Ellice: Yeah.

Schollaert: Doug?

Ellice: Yeah. Hold on a minute.

Schollaert: Okay.

Ellice: Go ahead.

Schollaert: Okay, uh– well. We uh, we were just wondering what’s going on, uh–

Ellice: There’s some troubles up there. I don’t know what it is. I’ll let you know when I find out.

Schollaert: Okay. I suspect the same here from some– some of the behavior I see–

Ellice: Yeah, uh, you may have some visitors out there at the airport from the group.

Schollaert: Pardon me?

Ellice: Uh, the group is on the move.

Schollaert: Uh-huh.

Ellice: Okay, I– I’ll, I don’t, I have no idea what’s going on yet, but I’m trying to find out.

Schollaert: Right.

Ellice: Okay. Be cool.

Schollaert: Okay– Uh, we’ll be here.

Ellice: Okay, good. Thanks.

[sounds of phone being dialed and ringing]

Burke: Yeah.

Ellice: Yes, sir. There’s something bad going on. I don’t know what it is. Joe Hartmann called Ogle, and he heard something about the planes haven’t taken off yet because of gunshots. There’s a lot of cryptic traffic going back and forth about uh, having the– having somebody’s children “go meet Mr. Fraser” and “the children don’t have any vehicles to go do it” and “Have you contacted Mr. Brownfield yet?” Wait a minute. [Pause] Something now about Mr. Fraser. Are– are you– Is your radio on?

Burke: I can’t pick it up. There’s too much static.

Shortwave 1: [unintelligible] (female speaker) well– they’re working on it–

Ellice: They’re working on it.

Shortwave 2: (different speaker, but hard to tell which radio female is in Georgetown and which is in Jonestown) Oh, I see– I see. I thought you were– said [unintelligible string]

Shortwave 1: Well, they’re on their way to see him.

Ellice: They’re on their way to see Mr. Fraser. Sounds like they’ve got people going down to the airstrip. Uh, I don’t know that we’re ever going to figure out–

Burke: Well, yes. What airstrip are we talking about?

Ellice: Kaituma. Uh, I don’t know that listening to this, we’re– we’ll ever figure out what they’re talking about, but there’s trouble up there.

Burke: Well, I don’t think that’s gonna really help us very much, Doug, one way or the other. Uh– [unintelligible words] monitoring if there’s anything from it. Uh, I think the thing to do is to just keep pressing GAC and, uh, the other people for an ETA.

Ellice: Okay, fine– uh–

Shortwave 2: Brownfield! Brownfield!

Ellice: Okay, fine uh, well, I’ll call the airport again.

Burke: Yeah.

Ellice: Okay. Thank you.

[phone hangs up]

Mrs. Ellice: Hello?

Weber: Hello. Is Mr. Ellice in?

Mrs. Ellice: Yes. Who is calling, please?

Weber: This is Dan Weber.

Mrs. Ellice: All right, Dan. Uh– what can I take a message from you?

Weber: Uh, yes. I’m, uh, in the consulate and–

Mrs. Ellice: Okay, hold on a minute. Here’s Joe wants to talk to you.

Hartmann: Hi, Dan.

Weber: Hi.

Hartmann: What’s up?

Weber: Um– I’m in the consulate now. Are things still going, uh– or should I still be– wait here?

Hartmann: Yeah, just stand by and– and wait for further instructions, all right?

Weber: Okay. Fine. Just thought I’d check.

Hartmann: Bye-bye.

Weber: Bye.

Hartmann: Okay.

[phone being dialed, unintelligible voices in background]

[more dialing, beeps, several minutes of noise similar to off-frequency shortwave reception]

[What follows is several minutes of personal phone traffic unrelated to the events of November 18, 1978]

[Side 2 includes French language and music programs unrelated to Peoples


Tape originally post March 2017