San Francisco DA Request to Secretary of State for Assistance, 11/25/77

[Editor’s note: State Department records show that a version of this letter was also sent to Philip Burton, Don Edwards and Leo Ryan – all Democratic U.S. Representatives from California – and to President Jimmy Carter.]

[letterhead of District Attorney of San Francisco, Joseph Freitas, Jr.]

November 25, 1977

Hon. Cyrus Vance
Secretary of State
State Department Building
Washington, DC

Re: Request for Assistance in Enforcement of Court Order Against Rev. Jim Jones in Guyana

Dear Sir:

On November 18, 1977, the Superior Court of the State of California ordered our office to “take all actions necessary to locate Reverend Jim Jones and to secure Reverend Jim Jones’ compliance with this order.” Paragraph 4 of the order (a copy attached) states:

“It is ordered that Reverend Jim Jones will immediately deliver the minor, JOHN VICTOR STOEN, to the Petitioner, GRACE LUCY STOEN, or to her authorized representative.”

According to our information, the underlying facts are the Rev. Jim Jones, a United States citizen, is living in Guyana, South America, where he is exercising physical custody over John Victor Stoen, a 5-year-old child who is also a United States citizen. Rev. Jones has refused to deliver the child to his legal parents, each of whom testified before the court and joined the request for the order issued. Our office is representing the court pursuant to Section 4700(c) of the California Civil Code.

Hon. Cyrus Vance
Page two
November 25, 1977

We are respectfully asking you to use whatever influence you have to help us obtain Rev. Jones’ compliance with the aforesaid order. If we cannot obtain Rev. Jones’ compliance in this manner, it will be our duty pursuant to Section 5150 of the California Civil Code to apply to the court for a warrant of arrest against Rev. Jones.

We will be most grateful for whatever you can do to help. Time may be of the essence. Please our office know if you need further information.

Thank you very much indeed.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Joseph Freitas, Jr.
Joseph Freitas, Jr.

Enc. Superior Court Order
dated November 18, 1977

Originally posted on June 16th, 2020.

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