Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “9/4/78 News ”
Date cues on tape: News items reflect date on tape note
Public figures/National and international names:
Dwight Eisenhower, former president
Franklin D. Roosevelt, former president
Jody Powell, White House press secretary
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Malcolm Toon, U.S. Ambassador to Soviet Union
Matthew Nimetz, American diplomat
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-Michigan)
Father Charles Edward Coughlin, American bishop who supported Hitler (by reference)
Pope John Paul
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister
Nikita Khrushchev, premier of the Soviet Union
Comrade Suslov (phonetic), member of Soviet Politburo
Henry VIII, English king
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Charles de Gaulle, former President of France
Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia
Spyros Kyprianou, President of Cyprus (by reference)
Ólafur Jóhannesson, Prime Minister of Iceland (by reference)
Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
King Hussein of Jordan
Elias Sarkis, President of Lebanon
Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania
Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Hua Kuo-feng, chairman of Communist Party in People’s Republic of China
Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua
Jorge Rafael Videla, President of Argentina
Augusto Pinochet, President of Chile (by reference)
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Simon Bolivar, liberator of South America
John Van de Camp, L.A. District Attorney (by reference)
Richard Hongisto, San Francisco sheriff
Officer Metzger, Oxnard, California police officer
Angela Davis, University professor, black activist
Kilmer Myers, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California
Rev. George Hunt, diocese executive officer
Randolph Hearst, newspaper publisher
Elizabeth Taylor, American actress
Mickey Spillane, American pulp writer
William Shakespeare, British playwright
George Meany, head of the AFL-CIO
Davis Fitzmorris/David Morris, union rival to Meany
Randall Robinson, executive director to Trans-Africa lobby
Francis Jay Crawford, International Harvester executive arrested and tried in Moscow
Pareer Kinsauce (phonetic), Secretary General of World Federation of Trade Unions
Jay Gillimut (phonetic), lawyer for WFTU
Habib Akur (phonetic), Secretary General of UGIT, unknown trade union
Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Lester Kinsolving, columnist, Peoples Temple antagonist
(various members of Kinsolving family)
Temple members not in Jonestown:
John Victor Stoen
Christine Cobb Young
Bible verses cited: None
Jim Jones presents the news for September 4, 1978.
There are a couple of longer pieces that Jones reads, such as news of their archenemy Lester Kinsolving, who was both defrocked as an Episcopal priest by the California diocese and stripped of his credentials by a press association in Washington, D.C. A second article, about an attack by a Communist group upon the Ku Klux Klan in Oxnard, California, also got a full reading. Both include periodic asides and comments.
There are also a couple of occasions that Jones issues instructions and/or warnings to Jonestown residents. The instructions are well known: people are to use their fly-swatters to kill both flies and mosquitoes; and people are to keep the community neat and tidy, since guests often pop in at any moment.
Jones also demands the people turn in their tape recorders, as well as their tapes. Five of the recorders will be kept in the library, along with many of the tapes, “so that people can check out music,” but, he says, the rest of the recorders will be sold, ostensibly in Georgetown, where the Temple can raise 500 to 2000 dollars (Guyanese) apiece. This solution, Jones said, could not be more loving.
The tape contains a more severe warning near its end, when Jones says he knows people are sending out codes in their letters. He suggests that those people confess to him, or else they will be brought up in People’s Rally. “We know positively, you’re trying to send out codes by the way you handle your letters,” he says. “We know what you’re up to, and we are good breakers of cryptic codes. So you better tell me now and explain why you did it. Because I know who did it. I have it right before my eyes.”
But most of the tape is a rapid-fire reading of the news from around the world, as if he is reading from a teletype wire service, with short bulletins – many of them written as sentence fragments, often omitting nouns or verbs, and articles – and much repetition. Jones also uses the urgent voice of a war correspondent, with few inflections and few pauses between items. The result is a sometimes-disjointed presentation that is difficult to follow.
It also means that some stories unfold more or less in real time, such as the report of a Rhodesian airliner that crashed, killing numerous people aboard. As the story develops, Jones informs the people of Jonestown that the plane may have been brought down by gunfire of black guerillas; by the end of the tape, he has reported that the guerillas have slain some, and possibly all, of the survivors. Moreover, Jones adds as the last news item of the day, the guerillas “would not give any apologies for it.”
Jones does add his own commentary throughout the tape, however, including during his war correspondent mode, mostly in the form of adjectives – Israel is Zionist, American allies are fascist, American economic interests are monopoly capitalist – but the concern that he inserts throughout the tape is the reference to an impending nuclear war. Whether it’s the stakes at Camp David, or in talks between high-ranking diplomats from the US and Soviet Union, or China’s foreign policy, or West German apprehension of the Warsaw Pact, the default issue – often supplied by Jones himself – is the threat of thermonuclear holocaust.
Most of the news which Jones reads comes from sources with a pro-Soviet tilt, including a substantial portion from Radio Moscow itself. Among the commentaries:
- Chinese Communists are trying to impose their own brand of socialism “for the whole world”;
- 97% of the Soviet people ratify a referendum supporting Moscow’s basic foreign policy;
- The summit at Camp David will “frustrate a just settlement in the Middle East” and result in the construction of a US military base in the Sinai;
- The strength of the Warsaw Pact encourages West Germany’s desire to pull out of NATO, thus precluding war;
- Soviet missile platforms in space will be used for defensive purposes only;
- The US jams Radio Moscow broadcasts, fearing American embracing of Soviet ideas.
Other items in the news:
- An American businessman goes on trial in the Soviet Union on currency violations;
- Carter wants to go slow on US-Soviet arms talks;
- The leader of Rhodesia’s white minority government meets secretly with the opposition;
- Copper sales in Zambia drop;
- The Tanzanian government orders the ouster of a British-based mining company;
- The Israeli labor movement protests government support of South Africa;
- Syrians battle Israeli-backed militias in Beirut, Lebanon;
- An eight-month long general strike in Tunisia continues;
- The investiture of the new pope occurs with protests against Latin American dictators in attendance;
- Iceland creates a new coalition government;
- The 11-day strike of French flight controllers gains sympathy across Europe;
- American envoys try to relaunch peace talks in Cyprus;
- The number of political arrests grows in Nicaragua;
- George Meany faces challenges to his leadership of the AFL-CIO;
- Carter-backed legislation on natural gas deregulation faces opposition;
- Floods ravage India.
Date of transcription: 6/13/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.
On May 31, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-37. This tape was found to contain the following:
Reverend JIM JONES’ review of world news and current events.
This tape was reviewed and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of the murder of Congressman RYAN.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.