Serial 293

[Editor’s note: Two of the interviewees of this serial whose names are deleted are James Cobb and Wayne Pietila. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type. In addition, the duplicate of this serial released additional information which was withheld here. That information is designated by blue type.

[Also note that this document’s duplicate at Serial 99 – the text of which is here – includes the name of Grace Stoen on page 7.]

210848Z NOV 78
FM SAN FRANCISCO (89-250)
TO DIRECTOR IMMEDIATE
BT
UNCLAS
RYMUR

On November 19, 1978, seven former members of the People’s Temple (PT) were interviewed. Six of these people were members of the Planning Commission, the “Inner Circle” of the PT. They furnished the following information:

Reverend James Warren Jones, aka Jim Jones, founder of the People’s Temple Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, founded the cult group in Indiana in the late 1950s and moved with some of his followers to the Ukiah, California, area in approximately 1966, where he founded the first Temple known as the Redwood Valley Temple on East Road, Redwood Valley, California, near Ukiah. Subsequent Temples were established in San Francisco at 1859 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, and

PAGE TWO SF 89-250 UNCLAS

at the intersection of Hoover and Alvarado in Los Angeles. The only Temple now open is the one in San Francisco.

Members of the PT were coerced into making written statements confessing illegal and immoral acts such as vowing to kill government officials which are then picked up at open meetings of the Temple by Planning Commission members. These statements were then delivered to the Reverend Jones, who used the statements to insure members[‘] involvement in the PT movement.

There are reported programs for the collection and caching firearms (however, none of the interviewees could give specific locations for any of the caches, nor have they seen any). Members engaged in firearms training and were threatened with actual acts of violence to keep them in line.

Jones used the creation of a plan which would go into effect in the event of his arrest or capture. This plan reportedly instructed members to kidnap “public officials” and then hold them hostage until Jones’ release. Also, if anyone attempting to expose the PT or physically invade it, the members were instructed to kidnap public officials’ children, kill the

PAGE THREE SF 89-250 UNCLAS

children, killed their own children, and then commit suicide. Murder of a public official also condoned. If a member left the membership, their lives could also be in danger.

On November 19, 1978, Deputy Chief [name withheld] San Francisco PD, spent two and one half hours in the San Francisco Temple and was asked if he desired to “look around”, which he did. He saw weapons, but the “search” was not a thorough one. Later in the evening, November 19, 1978, District Attorney and Chief of Police (COP) Charles Gain entered the Temple for a short period of time and saw no weapons.

On November 20, 1978, SAC [Special Agent in Charge] McKinnon and ASAC Lawler met with COP, San Francisco, and staff; District Attorney Joseph Freitas and staff; and Secret Service SAC Kenneth Iacovoni and staff to exchange information and discuss strategy.

Neither FBI, San Francisco, or the local authorities have any current or accurate information to develop probable cause for a search warrant of the Temple.

Congressman Ryan’s office advised that his body would arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFIA) via military plane at 5:30 A.M., November 21, 1978, where it will be met by

PAGE FOUR SF 89-250 UNCLAS

agents for the purpose of interviewing any witnesses. Current funeral arrangements are for Wednesday, November 22, 1978, and burial scheduled for the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California (approximately 15 miles south of San Francisco). Secret Service, San Francisco, advised that representatives of Capitol Police, Washington, D.C., will arrive San Francisco November 21, A.M., and assist local police in funeral arrangements. They advised the congressional charter from Washington, DC, will arrive SFIA 10:00 A.M., November 22, 1978. Attendees scheduled to stop at Crosby and Gray Funeral Home, Burlingame, California, All Souls Catholic Church, South San Francisco, and then to cemetery. Subsequently scheduled to attend reception at Airport Hilton Hotel, SFIA. Congressional charter scheduled to return to Washington, D.C., P.M., November 22, 1978.

Regarding the threat to Joseph Holsinger, son of William Holsinger, aid [aide] to Ryan, it has been resolved as a local matter with no known ramifications to this case.

Delta Airlines plane returning seven persons from group traveling with Ryan arrived at SFIA at approximately 6:00 P.M.,

PAGE FIVE SF 89-250 UNCLAS

and interviews were conducted with the following people:

Grace Stoen, female white, 28 years, former member who stayed in Georgetown.

James Cobb, Jr., Negro male, 20 years, former member who went to Jonestown.

Mickey Touchette, female white, 27 years, former member who stayed in Georgetown.

Clara Bouquet, female white, 50 years, one of the organizers of the Concerned Relatives, who stayed in Georgetown.

Nadyne Laurel Houston, female white, 60 years, member of the Concerned Relatives, who stayed in Georgetown.

Walter Wayne Pietila, male white, 25 years, former member who stayed in Georgetown.

Bonnie Lois Thielmann, female white, 23 years, former member who STAYED IN GEORGETOWN and could furnish only hearsay information.

All of the above persons were extremely tired upon their arrival, and while the interviews cover the basics, follow-up interviews are planned at a time when they are in better condition.

[James Cobb, Jr.] supplied the best insight into the activities, which is much the same as that information contained

PAGE SIX SF 89-250 UNCLAS

In Baltimore’s teletype to the Director, dated November 21, 1978. [Cobb] as the following names of those people he saw on the trailer from where the shooting came:

Bob Kice, Tom Kice, Joe Wilson, Albert Touchette, Eddie Crenshaw, Wesley (LNU) [Last Name Unknown] [Wesley Breidenbach], Ron James, and Ron Tally.

He witnessed the two Kices, Wilson, and Touchette fire point-blank at fallen victims applying the coup d’gras [de grace]. He believes that one of the last four names listed above was the driver of the tractor which pulled the assault trailer, but could not see the entire assault trailer to determine if more persons were riding thereon. He observed only shotguns and rifles used as weapons.

Grace Stoen [information released in Serial 99], who left in 1973, was, shortly before her leaving, in charge of the weapon inventory and stated that at the time the group had 176 various weapons, which were eventually brought to the PT in San Francisco and then shipped to Guyana by unknown means.

[Walter Wayne Pietila] advised that the group has a fishing vessel in Guyana which they used to ship guns. The specific description of the vessel is unknown.

PAGE SEVEN SF 89-250 UNCLAS

In 1973, Jones told him that if anything happened to Jones, he was to kill James Cobb.

[James Cobb, Jr] had conversations prior to the killing of Ryan with the sons of Jim Jones in Georgetown and felt because of their actions and statement “hundreds of lives are in danger” that trouble would occur.

The remaining interviewees all had stayed in Georgetown and could furnish only hearsay information.

[Cobb] stated that through his association with PT, he is aware that a number of Guyana officials have been compromised by Jones and his associates through sex and/or money, as well as [deleted name], US Embassy official in Guyana. According to [Cobb], [deleted name] was compromised by [deleted date] utilizing sex and she has recorded tapes of their affairs to be used to blackmail [deleted name].

All interviewees expressed extreme disappointment in the lack of assistance offered by the American ambassador, Guyana, during entire stay. Bureau should be made aware that interviewees will undoubtedly mention to the press the lack of cooperation and assistance by American ambassador of Guyana. [Editor’s note: This paragraph was crossed out on this copy of the serial]

PAGE EIGHT SF 89-250 UNCLAS

San Francisco is not in possession of any specific information which relates to any danger to any dignitaries attending Ryan’s funeral. However, there exists a state of paranoia amongst the defectors, who fear retaliation. Also, the events in Guyana indicate the state of mind of the current members of the PT. Local police will have heavy security at the funeral.

Sacramento office obtained the following descriptive data re Jim Jones from California CII, State Department of Justice, Sacramento:

James Warren Jones, WM [White male], May 13, 1931, Indiana, 5’10”, 180 pounds, black hair, brown eyes, CII number 5120912, LAPD number 1286450/J27C7007, California drivers license number B423673, arrests or fingerprinting-March 24, 1964, applicant prints; December 13, 1973, LAPD, lewd conduct.

BT.

Originally posted on December 4th, 2018.

Last modified on February 19th, 2021.
Skip to main content