[Editor’s note: The interviewee in this serial whose name is deleted is Dawn Gardfrey, a survivor of the deaths in Jonestown. Her name, as well as other deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Date of transcription 12/6/78
[Name deleted] [Dawn Gardfrey] was interviewed at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA) after her departure from Pan American flight 228 arriving from Georgetown, Guyana.
[Gardfrey] was advised of the identities of the interviewing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and Special Agent [Name deleted] of the United States Secret Service.
[Gardfrey] stated she first became aware of Peoples Temple (PT) when she was [deleted] years old and residing in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her mother took her to a meeting, however, at this point neither her nor anyone in her immediate family were members. [Gardfrey] stated when she was 11 years old she moved to California to live with [name deleted], who was an active member in the PT. At this time, she also became a member. She stated she would go to meetings four times a week and that she would help with the production of mini shows and cake sales in order to raise money. [Gardfrey] stated that after a year, she moved back to [one line deleted]. Although she did not actively attend meeting [words deleted], her family as well as her were all members of PT. When she was [deleted] years old, [Gardfrey] stated she took a tour of the country with PT in order to raise funds for the church. She remembered visiting Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Houston. During the stops in the cities, Reverend Jones would make speeches and try to get other people interested in the church. [Gardfrey] advised that approximately June, 1977, she moved back to San Francisco, accompanied by [name deleted] to live with [name deleted]
[one-half line deleted]. While residing there, she was getting communications from her friends who were living in Jonestown, Guyana. They told her what a nice place it was to live and that they would never go back to the United States. [Gardfrey] advised she also received beautiful films of Jonestown in the mail and that she was looking forward to moving there.
[Gardfrey] advised on August 19, 1977, accompanied [one line deleted] she flew to New York and then to Georgetown, Guyana. [Gardfrey] stated when they arrived in Georgetown, they spent the first evening in the PT headquarters in Georgetown, however, the next day they were transported to Jonestown on a boat named “Cudjoe.” The “Cudjoe” was used to transport supplies and people from Georgetown to Jonestown. She described this boat as a large fishing type boat. She stated PT also had another boat, the “Albatross” which she believed brought supplies back and forth from Georgetown to Trinidad. She believed that the individual that ran this boat was Don Sly.
[Gardfrey] advised when they arrived in Jonestown, she was reunited with friends that she knew from Indiana and San Francisco. One friend in particular was [name deleted]. She stated [the Cobb] family was all in Jonestown with the exception of [Jim Cobb] was in the states studying to become a dentist. She believed [Cobb] was a member of PT at one time, however, not at the present. She stated besides [name deleted], she lived in Cottage [2 lines deleted].
[Gardfrey] advised a routine day in Jonestown would begin with breakfast at 7 a.m. in the diner’s tent. From 9 a.m. to midday (12), she would work in the fields.
After lunch, from 1-3 p.m., the kids and teenagers would go to trade school which consisted of learning to work with wood, metals, or in her case student teaching with the other children. From 4-6:30 p.m., she would then go to classes. In school she took the below-listed classes with the following teachers:
Math James Turner
Current Events Jan Gurvich
Health Judy Ijames
Gym Martha Klingman
(Russian-Spanish) Don Jackson
Principal of grade school Tom Grubbs
[Gardfrey] advised she only took Russian for a few weeks, but it was hard to understand so she stopped attending that class. In the current events class, they studied about President Carter of the United States. She stated he was well-liked in Jonestown as well as Ambassador Andrew Young.
[Gardfrey] stated in the evening, she would attend meetings of the PT. During the course of the day, she also found time to practice with the girls’ drill team (marching group). The drill team was comprised of 12 girls wearing uniforms consisting of matching hats, tops, and pants. They would perform for members of the Guyana Government, visitors to Jonestown, or any foreign officials. She stated that the big day was May 1 (May day), when they would go to Georgetown and march in a parade. She advised the last foreign official to visit Jonestown was a Russian doctor, however, she thought he was from the embassy in Guyana and not from Moscow. Although, she stated the drill team did not have an opportunity to perform for him, she advised the doctor spoke to the group one night in English. She advised in approximately April, 1978, Mark Lane, Charles Gary [Garry], and Don Fried [Freed] also visited Jonestown
to complement [compliment] us on our work and the progress we were making in the PT.
[Gardfrey] advised that some of the food consumed at Jonestown was grown and farmed by members of the church. Some of the food grown there consisted of bore [bora] beans, black eye peas, string beans, potatoes, eggplant, cabbage, lettuce, and a variety of fruit trees. She added that stuffed dolls and animals were also made by the people and exported as a means of earning money. She stated that the dolls were all hand made and were then packaged in plastic bags where they were transported to Georgetown to be exported. She stated that Ruby Carrol [Carroll] was in charge of the people making the dolls. When asked what the dolls were stuffed with she stated whatever materials it takes to stuff a doll with. In the wood work and mechanical shops, toys, lamps, and other articles were made that were also used for export goods.
During her 16 month stay in Jonestown, [Gardfrey] had an opportunity to meet with Jonestown physician, Dr. Larry Schact [Schacht]. She advised she went to the hospital to have a mold [mole] removed from her neck. She advised that he was a very nice quiet man that was well liked by all the patients. She advised that other people that work in the hospital and were assistants to the doctor are the following:
Mary Anita Langston Administered blood test
Joyce Parks Family doctor
Dale Parks Respiration doctor
Sharon Cobb Pediatrician
Shanda James Dentist
Corlis Boutte (phonetic) Eye doctor
Diane Louie Assistants to Dr. Schacht
[Gardfrey] was aware that Schacht received his medical education in the United States, however, she did not remember from what university. She advised that he had drugs in his office, however, they were given to people only with permission of the doctor and then in moderate dosage. [Gardfrey] maintained that nobody used drugs in the church unless they were sick. She maintained that no drugs were produced by the PT in Guyana and that in fact, when some people came from the States, they were hooked on drugs, however, they were cured of this habit after hearing speeches by Reverend Jones that drugs were evil and not necessary.
[Gardfrey] stated the only reason she missed the mass suicide in Jonestown was because she was in Georgetown for dental work. She advised she went to Georgetown with [line deleted identifying grandmother Ruby Johnson] (phonetic), who also had appointments with dentist Shanda James. She advised after hearing of the suicide, they remained in Georgetown until they could get a plane back to the United States. She heard that included in the people that died was [names deleted]. She believed her father was still alive, but not sure where he presently is. She stated presently there are approximately forty survivors in Georgetown awaiting transportation to the United States.
Throughout the interview [Gardfrey] led the agents to believe Jonestown was a paradise to live in, however, after speaking about the deaths of her family, she began giving a different account of life in Jonestown.
[Gardfrey] advised although she was still happy with life in Jonestown, many of the people she spoke with were not. Reverend Jones would say you could leave when you wanted to, however, it was not that easy to get out because he was afraid of negative criticism. Reverend Jones had Rita Tupper and Mary Lou Clancy read all outgoing letters and if they found anybody writing against Reverend Jones or the PT, they would not permit the letter to be mailed and they would report the writings to Reverend Jones. She advised Reverend Jones had a security force which was set up to watch the people. The security force also consisted of many of the members that comprised the Jonestown basketball team. [Gardfrey] stated the security force all had access to use weapons which consisted of either rifles or handguns. She stated that the weapons were kept in Hut 14 where Johnny Cobb and Jim Jones, Jr. resided. Hut 14 also contained shotguns and ammunition for all the weapons in addition to bow and arrows that were also used. She advised she had knowledge of Hut 14 because on some occasions she slept there. Hut 14 was not open to everyone. You are either a number of security, lived there, or were invited there by one of its occupants. [Gardfrey] listed the following individuals who were on the security force and to her knowledge if they were still alive:
Tim Tupper also known as Tim Jones
Steve [Stephan] Jones
Jim Jones, Jr.
Johnny Cobb Jones
Johnny Jones, Jr.
Cleveland Newel [Newell]
Jim MacAbone [McElvaine]
[Gardfrey] was asked if Doug Sanders, Stanley Gieg (phonetic), or Don Sly were members of the security force. She stated Sanders was an electrician who she believed helped to make explosive devices. Gieg Was a tractor driver and Sly worked on one of the boats. She also advised that Lee Ingram was the coach of the basketball team, but had nothing to do with the security force.
[Gardfrey] was asked if she was aware of the term “Angels”, but she replied no. When asked if she was aware of an assassination team she said no, however, she replied if there was one it would have consisted of the following individuals as they practiced with the rifles:
Emmitt [Emmett] Griffith
Joe Wilson (leader of team)
[Gardfrey] advised that Tom Kize [Kice], Nat Sweeny [Swaney], and Walter Cartmel [Cartmell] also used weapons, however, she believed they were for hunting purposes. She had no idea from where or how these weapons got to Jonestown. In respect to weapons training, she advised the following individuals also practiced with either firearms or bow and arrows:
Peter Weatherspoon [Wotherspoon]
Kenny Reed (phonetic)
Chuck Bikeman [Beikman] (phonetic)
She advised the above-mentioned weapons were the only ones in Jonestown and there was never any talk or sighting of nuclear weapons there.
[Gardfrey] was asked what acts would be taken if anything happened to Reverend Jones or Jonestown and what people or groups would assist Jones or take over in the event something happened to him. She replied no physical harm would be taken against the Reverend although some of the people did not like what was happening, but were powerless to change things. Physical harm could never come to Reverend Jones as Johnny Cobb, Jimmy, Jr., Calvin Douglas, and Tom [Tim] Jones were usually with him when he went somewhere. [Gardfrey] advised if the Reverend was ever arrested, the members were prepared to sign petitions or demonstrate to set him free. If for any reason they had to leave Jonestown, she stated Reverend Jones said he would like to take everyone to Russia, but she did not think they would relocate there. If they had relocate, she said Reverend Jones once mentioned Granada [Grenada]. When asked if that was Spain, she replied yes, but she only heard that once from a friend and did not know it for a fact.
As far as groups, [Gardfrey] was asked if she belonged to a planning commission. She quickly stated no and that she had no knowledge of such a commission, but when asked the question again, she replied there was a commission that assisted the Reverend. She said the planning commission consisted of the following:
Caroline [Carolyn] Layton
Of the above-mentioned names, she stated the leader of the group was Caroline Layton and Maria Katsaris. Questioned how she new [knew] this group if she was not a member, [Gardfrey] replied that everyone in Jonestown was aware of this group and that they would organize if anything happened to the Reverend.
[Gardfrey] was asked to explain the term “white night”. She explained that whenever an announcement came over the PA system for everyone to immediately go to the pavilion during the night, this was known as a white night alert. At these gatherings, the Reverend would address all the members. Sometimes he would just warn us that the United States Government does not like the PT and they might cause us some trouble. Sometimes he would ask if we were afraid to die and by what means would you like to die. She stated that at one meeting, we practiced dying by drinking punch and then closing our eyes. Some of the people did not agree with these actions, but they would not voice their opinion or the Reverend would call them up in front of the group and asked them to explain why not. [Gardfrey] was asked on the day everyone died did they all commit suicide or were some murdered. She stated she heard in Georgetown that not everyone was a suicide and in fact, some of the people were forced to drink the punch. She stated not being there she could not be sure if this was true or not. At the meetings that were held, [Gardfrey] was asked if they ever discussed the assassination of any government officials from the United States. She stated not to her knowledge, however, they were prepared to do battle if anyone caused them trouble. She was asked if Congressman Ryan caused trouble while he was visiting. She replied that she was in Georgetown while he was in Jonestown, but she knew of no plan linked to murder the congressman or anyone in his party. She advised that Reverend Jones did not warn the people in advance that Ryan was coming and that in fact Jones welcomed his visit so that Ryan could go back to the States and make the people there aware of the PT and their work.
[Gardfrey] was asked who was in charge of the radio room and radio transmissions. She replied that Sandy Jones, Andrea Walker, Joan Pursley, along with Paula Adams worked in the radio room. She stated that Paula, however, spent most of her time at the PT headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.
[Gardfrey] was asked if she was aware of any contact between officials of the United States Government who may have visited with PT officials. She replied the Lieutenant Governor DiMally [Mervyn Dymally] of California was a speaker at PT headquarters in San Francisco about two years ago. She advised he just stated that he appreciated the good work in the community that the PT was doing. The only other United States official she was aware of was Doug Ellis [Ellice] of the United States Embassy in Guyana. She stated it was common knowledge that he used to visit Sharon Amos, a public relations worker for the PT church. She stated that these meetings were of a work related nature.
[Gardfrey] was asked what attracted so many people to Reverend Jones. She stated that Reverend Jones was a good man who had founded a religion they could all identify with. She stated some individuals donated their money to the church in order to make it grow and expand. She did not think anyone was forced to turn their money over to the church.
[Gardfrey] was asked if any type of punishment was administered the people who did something they were not supposed to do. [Gardfrey] replied that those persons who were to be disciplined because they had attempted to run away from Jonestown were sent to the ECU building. [Gardfrey] stated that Dr. Larry Schact and Joyce Parks were in charge of this unit. She advised that the people were kept in this building and administered drugs to keep them controlled. [Gardfrey] said she remembered a boy by the name of Vincent Lopez who had attempted to run away several times. She said he was taken to ECU and after that he was kept there for about two months. [Gardfrey] said she never saw Lopez again. [Gardfrey] stated that the ECU dormitory was “off limits” to the rest of the people in the camp.
[Gardfrey] was asked if she knew anything about the following individuals and she furnished their positions:
Don Fields Pharmacist
Caroline Layton Planning committee
Rita Tupper Censored mail
Eddie Crenshaw Truck drivers
Ed Holman [Hallman] Did not know
Chuck Bikeman In custody for the murder of Sharon Amos
[Gardfrey] then furnished the name Stanley Clayton and advised he went to Jonestown, Guyana because he was a fugitive in the United States although she did not know what state or for what crime. [Gardfrey] advised that Reverend Jones did not object to fugitives coming to Jonestown because once there he considered they were starting a new life. [Gardfrey] also advised approximately three weeks before the suicide, an individual named Hugh Fortune [Hue Fortson], black male, age 26, returned to PT in San Francisco, California, however, she did not know for what reason. She advised Fortune was a counselor for the kids and helped them if they got in some trouble.
[Gardfrey] advised she is going back to San Francisco, California with [half line deleted], and will then fly to [line deleted], address unknown.
The following information was obtained through interview and observation:
[Information related to date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, etc. all deleted]