[Editor’s note: The interviewee in this serial whose name is deleted is Bea Orsot [Grubbs], a survivor of the deaths in Jonestown. Deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type. Other information which remains withheld under the Freedom of Information Act has been denoted in green type.]
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Date of transcription 12/6/78
An individual, who identified herself as [Bea Grubbs], was contacted as she departed Pan Am Flight 228 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA). At this time, [Grubbs] was advised of the identities of Special Agents (SAS) [names deleted], Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Special Agent [name deleted], United States Secret Service (USSS).
[Grubbs] advised that her passport name was [Beatrice Alethia Orsot]. She advised that she also is known as [one line deleted, describing relationship with Tom Grubbs], with whom she resided in cottage [word deleted], Jonestown, Guyana.
[Grubbs] indicated that she first became acquainted with the People’s Temple in April, 1970, when she attended a meeting in San Francisco, California, at which Jim Jones spoke. She advised that Jones spoke of equality for all people and that the choir was integrated. [Grubbs] joined the People’s Temple in August, 1970. She stated that she initially volunteered [line deleted] indicated that food was served after every service. [Grubbs] explained that she would volunteer her time approximately three to four times a week and that she was still employed during the day with the [information deleted] in San Francisco. [Grubbs] advised that she had also been employed with [several lines deleted]. She was involved with basic organization and that Gene Chaiken was the Temple’s attorney. [Grubbs] also advised that she was a member of the Planning Commission. After her arrival in Jonestown in August, 1977, she indicated that she was involved in [several words deleted] cases involving young people in trouble. [2 lines deleted]
that there were approximately twenty numbers in 1970 in San Francisco. She explained that the membership rapidly increased with peak years being between 1975-77. By 1977, she estimated a total membership near four thousand. [Grubbs] felt that there were probably about one thousand members today.
[Grubbs] indicated that during her association with the People’s Temple in San Francisco from 1970 to 1977, many key political figures visited the temple. Among those she mentioned were: San Francisco’s Mayor Mascone [George Moscone], California’s Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Willie Brown – a supervisor under Mayor Mascone, Marvin Diamala [Mervyn Dymally] – Lieutenant Governor of California, Cecil Williams – a Minister, Tim Stone [Stoen] – a lawyer, once Assistant District Attorney under Mayor Mascone. She advised that Stoen lives in [word deleted], having recently visited Jonestown, Guyana. [Grubbs] stated that Mrs. Carter and Amy Carter visited Jim Jones in San Francisco in 1977. [Grubbs] also recalled that Jim Jones had once held a position in Mayor Mascone’s administration.
[Grubbs] advised that the People’s Temple in San Francisco was located at 1859 Geary Boulevard. She advised that in 1974, a fire destroyed the building and that the members rebuilt another structure. [Several lines deleted] observed the building in a blaze. [Several words deleted] She indicated that later, she was told that the gasoline [several words deleted] had been in the carpet. [Grubbs] advised that no one was ever prosecuted for this apparent arson. [Grubbs] felt that this incident was a major factor in Jim Jones planning a move to Guyana. [Grubbs] recalled one other incident that occurred in either 1971 or 1972, when Jim Jones was shot in Redwood Valley, California.
[Grubbs] explained that her attraction to the People’s Temple was largely due to its philosophy. She described the philosophy as being where there was equality for all people, elitism was outlawed, you were accepted for your mind, not the color of your skin, and that justice reigned.
[Grubbs] advised that she moved to the mission in Jonestown, Guyana, in August, 1977. She indicated that everything was provided for you. In response to finances, she indicated that everyone gave what they could. In [words deleted] case, she would receive United States Government [words deleted] checks once a month. [Grubbs] was able to produce four such checks for examination. Each check had a mailing address on it as follows: c/o Paula Adams, PO Box 893, Georgetown, Guyana, South America 894. The checks produced as examples were:
[Grubbs] indicated that she would sign the checks and turn them over to Maria Katsaris. [Grubbs] was unable to recall the members of the Finance Committee.
[One line deleted]. She explained that the news was taped from the radio [words deleted] would type it on a card. Then the cards were given to Maria Katsaris, who in turn gave them to Jim Jones. She indicated that he would shorten what had been typed, but would not admit that Jones did any censoring. [Grubbs] stated that there was tremendous pressure to learn world news. She explained this was done to make one sensitive to other’s problems. She mentioned an emphasis on news concerning South Africa and Apartheid. Emphasis was also placed on the Camp David meetings from a Socialist versus Capitalist position. The United States (US) and Israel were held in the Capitalist arena. [Grubbs] stated that they were tested on the news usually twice a week, both in written
and verbal form. If you did not pass the news test, you had to attend extra classes.
[Grubbs] advised that she lived in cottage number [one line deleted] along with six other individuals. Each had a separate area in the cottage, but still were overcrowded. She advised that Jim Jones resided in the East House until the West House was built. The East House then became a guest residence. She indicated that Maria Katsaris lived with Jim Jones in the West House. Katsaris was one of Jones’ personal secretaries. [Grubbs] believed there to be approximately forty cottages total.
She explained that Tom Grubbs was the Principal of the Jonestown School. She didn’t know whether Tom Grubbs was dead or alive. She indicated that Tom Grubbs was a white male, about 36 years old, and that he had received a college degree from a University in Southern California, possibly in Long Beach. Tom Grubbs had previously taught at the Willets School in Redwood Valley, California. She indicated that Tom Grubbs was good with mentally retarded students and that he was an excellent teacher. She indicated that Tom Grubbs was against Jim Jones in that Grubbs (Tom) had accused Jim Jones of brainwashing. She said that Tom Grubbs was disturbed because you are not allowed to defend yourself. She said that Tom Grubbs had a degree in psychology and showed interest in how to deprogram people. She indicated that Tom Grubbs was the individual who invented the “box” that children were locked into when they were being punished. Tom Grubbs was also the leader of the Archery Team. At one time, he was a National Champion. Other members of the Archery Team included: Lou [Lew] Jones – 18, Korean male, Peter Wotherspoon – 25, white male, Mike Rozynko – 20, white male, Ken Norton – white male, 32, Marie Lawrence – black female, 25, and Al Simon – Indian male, 30’s.
[Beatrice Grubbs] would not acknowledge any information regarding weapons in the settlement at Jonestown. She did not have any knowledge about cottage number fourteen. Nor did she have any information about firearms training except to indicate that if anyone would know about it, that it might be Joe Wilson.
[Grubbs] had no knowledge concerning threats or harm to public officials or former members of the People’s Temple. She would not recognize any contingency plans for retaliation in the future.
In reference to the inner core of the planning commission, [Grubbs] indicated that these were the people in the radio room. [Grubbs] indicated the following individuals as being associated with the radio room: Al Touchette, Paula Adams, Mike Carter, Karen Layton, Harriet Tropp, Carolyn Layton, Terry Buford, Debbie Blakely [Blakey], Sandy Jones, Sharon Amos, Wesley Breidenbach, and Lee Ingram. She noted that Al Touchette and Paula Adams used English, but that Mike Carter used code. She explained that the radio was used to contact the US and Georgetown, Guyana. [Grubbs] said that medical advice was often relayed over the radio. She used the term “QSO” as being in ham radio operating where you made contacts with people around the world. [Grubbs] indicated that [words deleted] to type cards recording the contacts made over the radio. She said that most of the contacts were late at tonight. [Grubbs] indicated that Paula Adams worked mainly at the People’s Temple headquarters in Georgetown where she would receive the radio communications. The People’s Temple headquarters is located at 41 Dennis Street, Georgetown, Guyana. She also indicated that Debbie Touchette (Al Touchette’s sister-in-law) worked in the radio room in Georgetown. [Grubbs] had no specific knowledge about a code system. She explained that the Jonestown radio room was located near the Pavilion and that Jones’ microphone broadcasts were made from this room. [Grubbs] felt that there were not any meetings of the Planning Commission in Jonestown. If anyone would know it would be Maria Katsaris or Carolyn Layton.
She felt that there were probably about seventy-five members on the Planning Commission when meetings were held in San Francisco.
[Grubbs] provided the following information regarding the Security Force: Jim Jones had a security force because of his paranoia about being attacked by outsiders and/or the CIA, FBI, etc. [Grubbs] said that Mark Lane even investigated that claim. She claimed that Joe Wilson was the head of the Security Force. She did not like Joe Wilson because he always walked around like a “bully”. Wilson also fixed eyeglasses. She described Joe Wilson as 5 feet 9 inches, 20’s, dark complexion, well-built, and close hair. Wilson was separated from his wife, Leslie Wilson. They had a son named Jakari Wilson. She listed other members of the Security Force as: Pancho [Poncho] Johnson, Tom Kice, Lou Jones and Calvin Davis. She said that possibly Tom Kice was Jim Jones’ personal bodyguard. [Grubbs] stated that she was not familiar with the term “Angels” nor did she acknowledge any information about a “hit squad”.
[Grubbs] provided the following individuals as being members of the basketball team: Stephen [Stephan] Jones, Tim Jones (white), Johnny Cobb Jones, Calvin Douglas, Lee Ingram (coach), Wesley (Last Name Unknown) (LNU) [Breidenbach], Jim Jones, Jr., Johnny Jones, Jr., Chuck Whiteman and Stephen Bikeman. [Grubbs] mentioned Paul McCann as being associated with the basketball team, but was not sure of the reason. She indicated that she never saw the basketball team play.
[Grubbs] did not have any knowledge regarding bribery or influence peddling by members of the People’s Temple. She advised that the American Embassy officials would visit Jonestown often, along with Guyana’s Prime Minister Forbes Burnan [Burnham], but had no information about bribery.
Regarding the visit of Congressman Leo Ryan, [Grubbs] explained that she knew that he was coming to Jonestown, but was not aware of the exact date. [Grubbs] was in Georgetown, Guyana, when the assassination of Ryan took place on November 18, 1978, and the subsequent mass suicide/murders. [Grubbs] had left for Georgetown on Tuesday, November 14, 1978, by way of boat. She was scheduled to have an appointment with a Dentist Joggan [Jagan]. She stated that [name deleted] went along with her. [Line deleted] stated that Leann Amos [Liane Harris] was murdered the next night. She did not provide any additional information regarding that statement. [Grubbs] explained that she heard that Larry Layton had killed Congressman Leo Ryan. She did not like Larry Layton, as she thought he was “weird” and too quiet. [Grubbs] advised that Jim Cobb, a former People’s Temple member, had come with Congressman Ryan on the visit to Jonestown. She said Cobb was one of the first members to leave the People’s Temple in San Francisco about four years ago. Cobb had been sponsored to attend dental school by the People’s Temple. She described Jim Cobb as a black male, 6 feet, heavy build, with a medium complexion. As far as eyewitnesses to the assassination of Congressman Ryan, [Grubbs] advised that the Bogue family had possibly seen the killings. She said that Tommy Bikeman [Beikman] had talked to Wanetta [Juanita] Bogue and that she said Larry Layton had shot Congressman Ryan. [Grubbs] said that the Bogue family was in Georgetown, Guyana.
In reference to the concept of suicide, [Grubbs] talk about “revolutionary suicide” which meant that it was better to commit suicide than to be tortured. She mentioned in September of 1977 that Jim Jones stated, “if they come to get one they have to take them all”. [Grubbs] felt that revolutionary suicide seem to be tied into something else. [Grubbs] could not clarify these statements.
Regarding oaths signed by members of the People’s Temple, [Grubbs] indicated that she had signed a blank piece of paper on several occasions. You did this to show your loyalty to the People’s Temple. If you didn’t sign, you would not be trusted. [Grubbs] said that only people on the Planning Commission would sign these oaths. She advised that the following individuals would keep the oaths: Maria Katsaris, Terry Buford, Carolyn Layton, and Debbie Blakely. She also said that another means of showing your loyalty would be not to associate with outsiders.
[Grubbs] could not provide any information regarding a relocation plan in the event of a mass suicide.
[Grubbs] recalled a Soviet having visited Jonestown and speaking at the Pavilion. She could not give any details, as she was not in attendance. She stated that at one time, an official also came from Libya.
[Grubbs] stated that Paula Adams was a very close secretary to Jim Jones. Adams was the very first secretary to come to Jonestown, having been there four years. Adams worked in Georgetown, Guyana, most of the time and is presently in Georgetown. [Grubbs] could not provide any information regarding Adams’ sexual activities.
[Grubbs] could not provide any information relating to a primitive nuclear device.
[Grubbs] provided the following information about Doctor Lawrence [Laurence] Eugene Schacht. Schacht was the head of the medical department and the Extended Care Unit (ECU). He was 26 to 27 years old and lived in the cottage in the forties. She indicated that he never associated “sexually” with females. [Grubbs] said that the ECU is where mentally disturbed patients were sent. [Grubbs] provided Patsy Johnson as an example of one who was sent to the ECU. She could not provide any additional information regarding Schacht.
[Grubbs] talk about Alerts or White Nights, which meant that Jim Jones would call everybody out to the Pavilion at any time. She said he would often talk about conspiracy against the People’s Temple. [Grubbs] advised that toward the “end”, it was getting really “heavy”. Alerts at this time were called just about every night. Often, they were kept up all night and still had to go to work the next day.
[Grubbs] stated that of the 1200 people in the Jonestown settlement, approximately 75% were Blacks. She did indicate that the leadership of the People’s Temple was mostly White. She explained this by saying that the Whites had the best educational backgrounds.
[Grubbs] said that during the last several months, Jim Jones had been very sick, with cancer and a lung ailment, and that he was on a lot of drugs. Jones seemed to be very irritable and that he expected too much out of them. She related that Jim Jones never allowed anyone to smoke, drink, use drugs, or wear beards. She said the Jim Jones was not God. [Grubbs] indicated that Jones was known to throw the Bible on the ground and step on it because he did not believe in it. She said that Jim Jones taught that the mind lives on but not necessarily in Heaven.
[Grubbs] referred to education in Jonestown as designed to meet the needs of Guyanese living. Courses were taught in agricultural techniques. She stated that the following foreign languages were taught: Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Indian, Swahili, and Greek. She said the purpose of language training was to send young people to colleges in the future. [Grubbs] knew of no plan to move the settlement to a foreign country. She advised that Clara Johnson came to Jonestown six or seven months ago and that she had a degree in administration. Johnson became Principal, thus taking some of the pressure off of Tom Grubbs. [Grubbs] also mentioned Richard “Dick” Tropp as being a Principal also.
She advised that Dick Tropp was the person who decided what television shows were presented to the members. [Grubbs] provided the following examples of shows frequently displayed to the members: Rosenberg Trials, Holocaust in Germany, and the Nazi persecution of Jews. [Grubbs] explain the presentations like these were to make them “more sensitive”.
[Grubbs] was unable to provide any information regarding drugs and the People’s Temple.
[Grubbs] provided the following information about individuals not previously mentioned:
Carolyn Layton – Jim Jones’ personal secretary; Larry Layton’s ex-wife;
Karen Layton – Larry Layton’s present wife;
Debbie Blakely – Jim Jones’ close secretary in San Francisco; left six months ago via Georgetown, Guyana; in San Francisco now; visited Jonestown in July, 1978 but didn’t stay long; Larry Layton’s sister; Jewish, black hair, very attractive;
Tim Jones – white male, adopted son of Jim Jones; 18-19 years old; member of basketball team, 6 feet tall, very muscular;
Jim Jones, Junior – Jim Jones’ black adopted son;
Tim Jones – black male; tall, medium build, dark complexion;
Lou Jones – Jim Jones’ adopted Korean son;
Terry Carter Jones – wife of Lou Jones; sister of Tim Carter;
Mike Prokes – came to People’s Temple from CBS as television reporter five years ago; worked in public relations;
Tim Carter – worked in public relations; 27-28; white male;
Grace Stone [Stoen] – had son by Jim Jones named John Stone; she left three or four years ago; Jim Jones always worried about someone coming to take John Stone;
Terry Buford – personal secretary to Jim Jones; left settlement within last month, does not know her whereabouts; very close to Jim Jones;
Sandy Bradshaw – secretary to Jim Jones, not as close as Terry Buford; married to Lee Ingram; arrived Jonestown Summer of 1977; blond hair, good figure; 5 feet 4 inches; glasses;
Lynetta Jones – Jim Jones’ mother; died December 9, 1977, supposedly of lung disease;
Odell Rhodes – escaped through aid of nurses station; told Guyanese police a mass suicide was taking place;
Debbie Touchett [Touchette] – worked in Georgetown most of the time; wife of Mike Touchett;
Mike Carter – worked in electronics, radio equipment and videotapes;
Archie Ijames – minister in San Francisco; been with Jim Jones since beginning; 60-70 years old; black male;
Johnny Cobb – member of basketball team; black male; 6 feet; 17-18 years old, brother of Jim Cobb;
Rita Tupper – individual who took care of the mail;
[Beatrice Grubbs] provided the following information about herself:
[Information related to date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, etc. all deleted]