Serial 1221

Barbara Allen Babcock
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Division

Request for Investigation for Possible Civil Action Arising Out Of Incident Involved [Involving] People Temple In Guyana in November 1978

To: Mr. William H. Webster
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Attention: J.O. Ingram, Inspector
Deputy Assistant Director

The Civil Division may be requested to bring a civil action to recover certain federal funds expended to return bodies to the United States in connection with the recent incident in Guyana. Since you are aware of the basic facts of the incident in Guyana, we will not repeat them here. If such an action is to be brought, various facts concerning the assets and legal status of the People’s Temple must be uncovered.

We understand that the FBI is in the process of conducting an investigation of certain activities of the People’s Church [People’s Temple]. We request that, either as a part of that investigation or a separate one, the FBI specifically focus on certain areas of inquiry, namely (1) the legal status of the People’s Temple in Guyana; (2) the legal status of the People’s Temple in California; (3) the relationship of the People’s Temple in California to the People’s Temple in Guyana; (4) assets of the People’s Temple in Guyana; (5) assets of Jim Jones; (6) assets of the People’s Temple in California; and (7) relationship of the members to the People’s Temple. For your convenience, we have attached a list of questions within each of these categories to be pursued in your inquiry.

We would appreciate being advised of any information received pertinent to this inquiry as soon as possible. We are especially interested in statements made by survivors in their interviews with the FBI concerning arrangements or agreements between members and the Church regarding disposition of property. (See attached Item 7.)

Please contact David Epstein, Director, Commercial Litigation Branch, 724-7450, if you have any questions regarding this request. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.

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Questions Re Inquiry Concerning Possible Civil Action Arising Out Of Incident Involved [Involving] People Temple In Guyana in November 1978

1. What is the legal status of the People’s Temple in Guyana?

(a) Is it a corporation or some other form?
(b) Under what law (citation) was it incorporated or established?
(c) What is its official name and when was it established?
(d) What was its history before that date?
(e) Who were its directors, incorporators, chief officers?
(f) Are there any public documents available which reflect this information; if so, please obtain.

2. What is the legal status of the People’s Temple in California? See (a) through (f) above.

3. What was the relationship of the People’s Temple in California to the People’s Temple in Guyana?

(a) Were the assets of one treated as the assets of the other?
(b) Were the officers and directors the same?
(c) Was the property of one utilized by the other? Specific examples are requested.
(d) Were the members of one members of the other?
(e) What services were performed by each for the other?

4. What are the assets of the People’s Temple in Guyana?

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(a) Where are they located?
(b) Who has possession?
(c) What are the claims to such property; including claims of members?
(d) What is their value?
(e) Are there any legal proceedings under way related to those assets? If so, describe.

5. What are the assets of Jim Jones? See (a) through (e) above.

6. What are the assets of the People’s Temple in California? See 4(a) through (e).

7. What was the relationship of the members to People’s Temple?

(a) Were any written agreements executed; if so, describe.
(b) Or any oral promises made, particularly regarding food, clothing, shelter, burial?
(c) What were the requirements of membership? (Deeds of Property to Temple, promise of donation to feature assets, obedience, etc.)?

Originally posted on August 28th, 2019.

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