Serial 1303-15

[Editor’s note: One of the subjects of this serial whose name is deleted is Temple member Laura Johnston, who was in Georgetown on November 18, 1978. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type. In addition, many of the FBI interviews summarized in the FD-302s also deleted the verb following the deleted name; most oftentimes, that word was “advised”.]


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/15/78

On December 6, 1978, [name deleted] [Laura Johnston], was interviewed at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA), Pan-American Hangar 17, Queens, New York, by Special Agents (SAS) [names deleted]. Also present during this interview was Special Agent (SA) [name deleted], United States Secret Service (USSS). Prior to the beginning of the interview, [Laura Johnston] apprised of the identities of the interviewing agents and the nature of the interview. Thereafter, she provided the following information:

[Laura Johnston] a member of the San Francisco People’s Temple (PT) in [date deleted]. She was especially impressed by the way the children were provided for by the PT. Doctors and nurses cared for the children when they were ill.

Her first trip to Guyana was in either 1973 or 1974. She saw the land where Jonestown would eventually be constructed and she thought it was beautiful.

[Laura Johnston went] to Guyana in March, 1977. She resided in Georgetown for seven months, moved to Jonestown and lived for 14 months in the past two months has resided in Georgetown. During the past two months, she had the position of [2 lines deleted].

Her reason for going to Jonestown to live was mainly because the children would receive a much better education, would be away from drugs and would grow up free of racism.

She described Reverend Jones as being a kind of individual who was good with children.

[Laura Johnston] the PT was governed by a steering committee composed of approximately 100 people. She stated that the Planning Commission (PC) did not exist

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in Guyana. She also stated that she didn’t know the mass suicide would happen. She described Jonestown as being a nonviolent place where children were disciplined in the usual ways.

[Laura Johnston advised] the State Department had requested she compile a list of the survivors of Jonestown and their destination when they leave Guyana. She provided this same list to the interviewing agents.

[Laura Johnston] requested a lawyer and the interview was terminated.

[Laura Johnston] the following background information:

[Information on physical description, occupation, education, and marital status deleted]