Serial 1681-27

[Editor’s note: One of the subjects of this serial whose name is deleted is Charles Garry’s legal aide Pat Richartz. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]

[This section of Serial 1681 covers pages 363-374 of the FBI Report of January 12, 1979.]


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/4/78

Charles Garry, Attorney, home address [deleted], California, telephone [deleted], work address: Law Offices, 1235 Market Street, San Francisco, California, telephone 864-3131 was interviewed at his law offices concerning the Peoples Temple and his recent trip to the Peoples Temple Mission compound in Guyana, South America.

Prior to any questioning, the interviewing Agents identified themselves to Garry by display of their credentials. Also present during the interview was Secret Service Agent [name deleted] and occasionally during the interview Garry’s assistant, [name deleted] [Pat Richartz].

Prior to the start of the interview Garry advised interviewing Agents that he was most amenable to having the FBI interview him. He would attempt to be as frank and candid as possible.

Garry advised that Mark Lane wrote him a letter which instigated this trip to Guyana. Garry advised he would make available a copy of this letter to interviewing Agents, which he did at the end of the interview.

Garry advised that he became the attorney for the Peoples Temple in June, 1977, succeeding Timothy Stoen, who had been the attorney for this organization for many years. It was during this time, the summer of 1977, that the Peoples Temple was receiving bad publicity from the news media and various defectors from the Peoples Temple were filing litigation against the Temple.

Garry advised he made his first trip to Guyana in September or October of 1977. At that time he spent four days at the compound and returned to San Francisco with a tremendously high opinion of the Jonestown complex. Garry stated he “fell in love with the place;” he stated upon his return that “I have seen paradise, where there is no sexism, racism, agism, elitism, no one hungry.” Garry advised Jim Jones during this trip: “Jim, you have got to let the world see this place.” Garry advised interviewing Agents that his goal ever since has been to open up the compound to the public.

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Garry stated his second trip to Jonestown was in September or October of 1978 when he needed to obtain affidavits regarding pending lawsuits against the Peoples Temple. At this time he worked with a Temple member named Gene Chaikin, a former attorney for the Temple, who was at the time of this visit the head of the Agriculture Center for the compound. Garry advised Chaikin had stated he had no further desire to practice law.

Garry added that all these affidavits had to be notarized by the US Embassy in Guyana in order to be valid in the United States.

A writer named Don Freed was also at the compound during Garry’s visit in October, 1978. Garry advised Freed is an old friend who wrote the book on Bobby Seale, entitled “Agony in New Haven.” Freed currently resides in Los Angeles, California [several words deleted] advised his home telephone number is [deleted]. Garry stated that Freed was in Jonestown to write an autobiography of Jim Jones, however, Jones evidently was not willing to pay Freed so Freed cut his visit short and returned to the United States prior to Garry’s return.

Garry stated that he was returning from this trip and was at the airport in Georgetown when he met Mark Lane. Garry further advised that he had no knowledge of Lane’s trip to the mission. Garry said that Lane had been introduced to the Temple through Don Freed. Garry stated he is the chief counsel to the Peoples Temple and Lane had been hired without Garry’s knowledge. Garry supposed that Lane would attempt to show government conspiracy against the Peoples Temple and Jim Jones. In this way Lane would attempt to divert attention from the Peoples Temple’s other problems which were currently getting news coverage.

Garry stated he resented Lane being hired and was quite angry with Lane. Marcie [Marceline] Jones, wife of Jim Jones, told Garry that Lane was not being paid for his services; however, Garry advised that Mark Lane had told him he was receiving payment from the Peoples Temple, that he couldn’t travel all around without receiving payments.

Garry stated that when he became chief counsel in June, 1977, he advised the members of the Peoples Temple that they were not to hold news conferences unless he was present. On three occasions they held such conferences and Garry stated he ended up with lawsuits on each occasion.

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While Lane was in Guyana in September or October, 1978, he held a press conference in Georgetown and Jones was very pleased by what Lane stated to the press at this time. Lane then came to San Francisco and held a press conference at the Temple here. Garry advised he did not like this at all because he, Garry, is the chief counsel for the Peoples Temple and he had no prior knowledge of the statements Lane was to make to the press. At this conference Lane stated that there was a conspiracy by the government to destroy the Peoples Temple and Jim Jones; that Jim Jones would be returning to the United States; and that within 90 days he was going to file a lawsuit against the United States government.

Garry stated he once again contacted the local members of the Peoples Temple (he recalls talking to Jean Brown) and again advised them to stop holding press conferences. Garry stated he had no knowledge of Jim Jones returning to the United States at this time or anything else Lane said during this press conference.

On November 8 or 9, 1978, Garry read in the San Francisco Chronicle that Congressman Leo Ryan demanded to go to Jonestown and that Mark Lane had advised Ryan that Ryan could not go to Jonestown as planned because it was not convenient for the Peoples Temple in Guyana to receive such a visitor at this time. Garry advised this was the first knowledge he had that Ryan was going to Guyana.

Garry advised he was very upset with this article, and when he talked with Jean Brown (San Francisco Temple member) she advised him that Lane was an attorney for the Peoples Temple. He told Brown that this was a slap in the face for the Guyanese government who has given all types of courtesies to the Peoples Temple. Garry told the Peoples Temple members that this should be straightened out by Monday, November 13, 1978, or he was going to withdraw as their counsel.

Garry advised there was then a radio transmission, evidently with Marcie Jones, stating that Jim Jones was very ill, semi-comatose, running a high fever, and was packed in ice. Garry was advised this was not a good time to withdraw as counsel. Garry responded that there was no way he was not going to withdraw if this situation did not get straightened out. Garry stated he felt he was being used by the Peoples Temple members who were not being candid with him and that Lane was using the Peoples Temple to further his own aims.

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On November 10, 1978, Garry advised that [name deleted], who works in Ryan’s office, came to see him and brought letters written between Leo Ryan and Mark Lane. Garry advised [name deleted] that Ryan was bypassing the Peoples Temple lawyer in this matter. Garry made copies of these communications available to the interviewing Agents.

At noon on Wednesday, November 15, 1978, Garry stated that he was advised by his assistant, [Pat Richartz], that Jones wanted him to come immediately to Guyana. Garry stated Ryan was already down in South America. Garry flew to South America aboard Pan Am Airlines at 9:00 PM that night.

Garry stated he ran into Mark Lane and Garry stated he got angry at him and said, “why am I here if you are”; Lane then tried to placate Garry, but Garry stated he was so angry he would not speak to Lane and even though they were on the same plane he would not sit with him.

On Friday, November 17, at 10:00 AM they arrived at Georgetown and members of the Peoples Temple picked them up at the airport and took them to the Georgetown headquarters of the Peoples Temple. Garry stated he and Mark Lane had another fight when they reached the headquarters.

Garry stated that Congressman Ryan was “making a circus about this thing”; he had media there and Garry wanted to talk to Ryan alone. Ryan stated he would not talk to Garry without the press being present because he was a Congressman. The media was very decent, according to Garry, and made one of the aide’s rooms in the hotel available to Garry to speak to Ryan in privacy.

Garry was very angry with Ryan and stated he had no right to do this investigation, that he had preconceived ideas and would not give a fair assessment of the compound. Ryan said he did have a prejudgment about the compound but had an open mind.

Ryan then stated to Garry, “Whether you like it or not we are going to leave at 2:00 PM on a chartered plane with media, relatives, etc., and you may come, we have two seats.”

Garry advised that he had not yet talked to Jim Jones.

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He and Lane then returned to the Peoples Temple headquarters and talked to Jim Jones on the radio. Mark Lane and Garry had agreed on one thing, according to Garry – that Jim Jones has got to let the Congressman, media, and some relatives into the compound. Mark Lane spoke on the radio first and Jones went into a long speech about the enemies of the church. Lane got nowhere with Jones, according to Garry. So Garry stated he talked to Jones on the radio and gave Jones to alternatives… One, to tell the Congressman, etc., to go to hell. Garry advised Jones that it if he did that there would be no way Garry would be able to handle California. The second alternative was to let everybody in.

Garry advised he did not believe Jim Jones was rational during this radio transmission.

Jones finally advised the group could come on down to the compound. They drew lots, four of the relatives were included in the group, as well as the news media, including Ron Javers (ph) of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Garry advised they arrived at a very small airport at Port Kaituma, which is located six miles from the Peoples Temple compound.

A truck with several Peoples Temple members was there to meet the arriving group. These members included a woman called “Sarah” (who Garry identified later in the interview as Harriet Tropp, a Hastings Law School graduate in 1977 and who now is one of the suicide victims) and a man possibly named Johnny Jones. Garry was unable to identify any other members and stated he has a very hard time remembering names.

These members announced that only two of the party could go to Jonestown – Mark Lane and Charles Garry. Lane and Garry got on the truck and a quarter of a mile down the road they met a Temple tractor. The members on the tractor advised that Ryan, his aide, US State Department representative [Richard] Dwyer, and [Neville Annibourne] the Guyanese representative from the Minister [Ministry] of Information were now requested to come also to [the] Jonestown compound.

Lane and Garry returned to the airport. Ryan announced that all the media must also come. Garry stated he told Ryan to just come and do his job; then Garry told everybody he would try to get them all into the compound.

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Garry stated they traveled six miles to the entrance of the compound and four miles further to the main area of the compound. When they got there they talked to Jim Jones over an intercom and convinced him to let all the other members of the party come to the compound. Jones made one exception and did not allow the reporter from the “Enquirer” [Gordon Lindsay] to come.

Garry advised that Congressman Ryan and his assistant, Jackie Speier, interviewed 40 people before dinner. After dinner, with 1,000 people or more present in the pavilion, they were entertained by a talent show put on by the Peoples Temple members.

Jim Jones was present and was, according to Garry, “rambling on and on.” Garry believes Tim Reiterman took notes of Jones’ conversation at this time.

Marcie Jones introduced Congressman Ryan, who then stated he was very glad to be there, had seen things he didn’t expect to see. At this pronouncement, Garry stated all the Peoples Temple members started wildly applauding.

Jones ended the evening by speaking with the media.

There was room in the complex to house just a part of the group for the night. The following visitors remained at the compound Friday night: Ryan, Speier, Dwyer, Lane, Garry, and the representative from the Ministry of Information. All the party stayed in the guest house except for Lane and Garry, who had room next to the radio shack. The rest of the party departed to find rooms outside the compound.

On Saturday morning between 10:30 AM at 11:00 AM the media returned to the compound on the Peoples Temple trucks.

The media spent the morning taking pictures, etc.

At 1:30 PM, Congressman Ryan told Jim Jones that there was a family of six that wanted to leave. Jones “freaked” out at this, according to Garry, and called the family traitors, liars, etc. Garry stated he told Jones not to express these emotions, that after all it was just six people that wanted to leave. Jones stated to Garry that he had told everyone the night before that if anyone wanted to leave they could. At that time no one wanted to leave. Jones now felt that these six people were out to embarrass him. Garry stated he tried to convince Jones to let these people leave. Garry advised the six then increased to

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fourteen people. Garry recalled the Parks family and Larry Layton being among the fourteen; however, he advised he could not remember any other names or faces of the fourteen.

At this point Garry decided to leave with these people if there was room, stating it was raining and the whole affair was very sad.

Garry said he was getting ready to get on the truck when Jackie Speier came to him and said he had to return to the pavilion because a man named Simmons (ph) [Simon] wanted to leave and take his three children with him. Garry stated Simmons could not do this because he did not have custody of the children. Mark Lane was also supposed to leave, but they both then returned to the pavilion.

Garry told Simmons that he could leave, but he could not take the children with him. Simmons stated he would not leave without the children and that he would stay and be harassed. Garry asked Simmons what he meant by this and then went and spoke to Jones, who told Garry that Simmons would not be harassed.

Leo Ryan was rounding up the last of the group to leave. Larry Layton then came up and talked to Ryan, stating that he also wanted to be expatriated or to defect.

It was agreed that Ryan would spend another night at the compound since there was no longer room on the plane for him to leave. Another chartered plan [plane] would come Sunday for Ryan.

Garry advised that at this point in time he and Mark Lane were again taking steps to leave and were shaking hands with Ryan. Ryan stated he was very impressed by what he had seen and that he would not make a Congressional recommendation to investigate the complex. Ryan further stated that he was convinced that the charges against the Temple were not founded, but that peer pressure and isolation made it difficult to leave. This last point would be mentioned in his report.

Garry told Jim Jones that he could “live with this; this is a good report.”

While they were talking to Ryan (Mark and Garry) a man came up and put a stranglehold on Ryan and stated “Congressman Ryan, you mother fucker.” He put his left arm around Ryan’s neck and

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had a knife in his right hand. Garry identified this man as Don Sly. Mark Lane and Garry attempted to get Sly off Ryan. Tim Carter and other Temple members came up and wrestled the knife from Sly. Sly cut his hand. Ryan was very upset and had Sly’s blood all over his shirt and pants.

A fresh shirt and a pair of pants were brought from the stock room for Ryan. Garry did not know if Ryan put on these clothes. Dwyer was also present during this incident, and suggested that Ryan leave now rather than wait for Sunday.

Garry and Lane then were forced to remain at the compound because there was now no more room on the airplane. Dwyer stated he would take Ryan to Port Kaituma airport and then come back Saturday night and another plane would take Garry and Lane out Sunday.

Garry advised that he talked to Jones after this incident and told Jones that he thought this attack on Ryan was the work of an agent provocateur. Jones[‘] reply was that it was not such an act, rather that the people were so angry. Garry asked Jones what they were angry about and got no answer.

Some time passed and Garry then spoke for the first time with friendship to Mark Lane, suggesting that they take a walk. They walked past the cottages and evaluated the weekend. Both believed it look good and Garry stated he felt he could “live with it.”

Lane then said to Garry, “I want you to keep this to yourself. This afternoon when Jerry Parks asked to leave with his family he asked me to go with him to get his gear. He was afraid. He said this place is not what it appears to be. We work 12-18 hours a day. We got no meat unless there are visitors. There are 150-300 people who would like to leave here.”

At 4:30 PM or 5:00 PM Jack Bean [Beam] (who has been with Jones for 25 years) and Jim McElvane (ph) (a real estate man from Los Angeles, who had only been at the compound two days, and had a sister, Kay, at the compound) came up to Mark Lane and Garry and asked them what they thought about the complex. Garry told them that he felt there should be more freedom to air opinions and that this would make it a stronger place to live.

The two members stated there was a special event meeting at the pavilion so Lane and Garry returned to that area.

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People were coming in droves to the pavilion. Mark Lane and Garry were asked to meet with Jones. Present at this meeting were: Sarah (Harriet Tropp), Jim [Jack] Beam, Jim McElvane, Tim Carter (who did not stay). This meeting was held at 5:00 PM which time Garry stressed to interviewing Agents. Garry stated that he later learned that Ryan was shot at 4:20 PM, therefore, the people present at this 5:00 PM meeting were important. Garry later stated in the interview that it was a 25 minute trip to the airport in Port Kaituma.

Jones said to Garry, “Charles I am worried. When Larry Layton left, he hugged me and said ‘this shit’s got to stop.’ Joe Wilson and Jerry Parks have also left. They have taken every gun in this place, there is not a gun left.”

Marie [Maria] Ksatsaris came in and talked to Jones for about 30 seconds. Jones came back and said that Lane and Garry had to leave and go to the East Guest house because “feelings are so high your lives are in danger. People are angry.”

Garry advised he still did not understand why the members were angry. They did not appear angry and were smiling and giving greetings to Lane and Garry as they passed by them.

Lane took his luggage and Garry took his briefcase and they proceeded to the East Guest house, which Garry described as being quite a distance from the pavilion.

Jim McElvane followed them until Lane and Garry turned into the guest house… Garry told McElvane to let him know what transpired at the meeting and McElvane then continued straight ahead on the path. Once inside the cottage Lane stated to Garry that he did not like this situation.

Next to the guest house, Garry advised, there is a small cottage about 20-30 feet away where he observed some black men standing in front of the cottage. They took 8-9 guns out of the cottage and boxes of ammunition. Then Don Sly came and sat behind the guest house. Sly kept asking people passing “when do you want me up there?” Sly finally left.

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The two young black men came to the guesthouse, who Garry identified as “Johnson” and “Pauncho” [Poncho]. They had guns in their hands at the ready position and were happy and smiling. They stated to Lane, “To die for the people is revolutionary suicide. We are dying to expose fascism and racism.” Lane responded by asking if there wasn’t an alternative, and if there was not, he and Garry would stay behind and write of their cause. They smiled and agreed with Lane. Lane or Garry then asked these black men how to get out of the compound. They first stated “take a plane,” and, after it was pointed out there was no plane, they advised Lane and Garry to go back through the bush.

The Temple members then left, Garry and Lane, headed for the bush. Garry stated he was still hanging on to his briefcase.

As Lane and Garry headed into the jungle bush, Garry stated he could hear occasional statements being made such as “Tim Stoen is not the only enemy”; “No other alternative than to die”; “Let’s not be divisive.”

After going about 100 yards into the bush, Garry heard Jim Jones state, “Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother” and then Garry heard three shots. Garry advised that although he had now read articles in which Mark Lane states he heard 80-90 shots, he, Garry, only heard three shots.

They slept about 200 yards into the jungle. It was cold and raining. Garry stated they laid in the jungle for about fourteen hours.

Lane and Garry then got up and walked through the jungle until they reached the road that leads from the compound. Garry stated they did not cut through the compound, but went straight through the bush to the road. Garry recollected it was about 4:30 PM Sunday afternoon when they reached the road. They started walking toward Port Kaituma. A truck came by and give them a ride to the Army post police department at the Port.

At the Army post they saw Mike Prokes, Tim Carter, plus one other white male [Mike Carter], who had worked in the radio room at the compound, being held by the soldiers.

Garry stated he remembered that Tim Carter had been at the final meeting with Jones, but had left the meeting early. Garry could not recall whether Mike Prokes and the other white male had been present at that meeting.

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Garry stated that while he and Lane were in the jungle, Lane told him many things about the Peoples Temple which he, Lane, stated he had learned from Terri Buford, who, according to Lane, had been elected to take Jim Jones’ place should something happen to Jones. Lane told Garry he had learned about the drugs, beatings, and people being drugged at the compound. Garry was not sure whether Lane mentioned knowledge of weapons or not.

Garry stated that Buford had left the Temple several weeks earlier and went at that time to stay with Lane.

Lane also advised him at this time that he was receiving payment from the Peoples Temple.

Garry advised that he was being paid on monthly basis by the Temple in the amount of $5,000 (although he had requested $20,000). Garry was originally given a retainer.

Garry stated he had no knowledge of the Peoples Temple financial affairs; did not know what bank their check was drawn upon.

Garry stated at no time had he been offered land in payment.

Interviewing Agents asked Garry the following questions, and Garry answered negative to each question:

Do you have any specific knowledge of acquisition, licensing or shipment of any weapons by Peoples Temple members?

Do you have any specific knowledge of firearms training received by Peoples Temple members, including specific dates, places and by whom?

Do you have any direct knowledge of threats to harm any public officials or current or former Peoples Temple members as a result of persons attempting to expose the Peoples Temple; infiltrate the Peoples Temple or inducing a member to leave the Peoples Temple?

Do you have new knowledge of caching of weapons or monies?

Do you have any knowledge of discussions or copies of a “contingency plan” reportedly espoused by Reverend Jones as a means of retaliation against any persons attempting to arrest or capture Reverend Jones?

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Do you have any knowledge of a conspiracy or discussion by members of a specific federal official as a target?

Do you have any knowledge of “hit men” or “angels?”

Do you have any specific knowledge of Peoples Temple members being utilized to compromise public officials for the furtherance of Temporal objectives?

After Garry responded “no” to the above questions, he discussed a private investigator from San Francisco named Joe Mazor. Garry stated Mazor came to Guyana while Garry was there in September, 1978. Garry described Mazor as working with the defectors from the Peoples Temple. Mazor took voice prints of Temple members in Guyana and after he analyzed these prints he told Garry he was satisfied the people were not being held there against their will.

Mazor told Jim Jones he should have more security and Mazor was willing to set up a security system for Jones, including bringing a bulletproof vest for Jones.

Garry advised there are currently 15-20 Peoples Temple members at the Temple in San Francisco and he has no knowledge of any guns being in the temple.

Garry stated he has never heard of any records being kept by the Temple to use for blackmail.

Garry stated Mark Lane could be reached by telephone at [number deleted] in Memphis, Tennessee.

Garry stated he had eaten cheese sandwiches at the Guyana compound and had never been drugged, contrary to what he stated the newspapers are now printing about the cheese sandwiches served there.

Garry stated he heard no shots the night he spent in the jungle, but the next morning he heard several voices and shots, the location of which was difficult to tell.

Garry stated he had absolutely no advance information that anything like the occurrences were going to happen.

The interview was discontinued at this time because Garry had members of the Peoples Temple waiting to confer with him.