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 “Sept 11, 78 News”
Date cues on tape: Part II of tape consistent with identification label
Public figures/National and international names:
Karl Marx, German economist, father of communism
Vladimir Ilich Lenin, father of Russian Revolution
Mao Tse-tung, leader of People’s Republic of ChinaMário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares, prime minister of Portugal Luis Sisa [phonetic]. Portuguese Agriculture MinisterAnastasio Somoza Debayle, President of Nicaragua
Juan Pereda, military general and dictator of Bolivia
Victor Paz Estenssoro, former president of Bolivia
Herman Siles Zuazo, former president of Bolivia
Augusto Pinochet, military ruler of Chile
Orlando Letelier, assassinated Chilean ambassador to US
Ronni Moffitt, assassinated aide to Orlando Letelier
Gustavo Leigh, member of Chilean junta, forced from power
Raul Vergara, Chilean military officer, forced from powerAgostinho Neto, President of Angola
Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire
Ferdinand Marcos, president of Philippines [by reference]
Imelda Marcos, wife of Ferdinand Marcos [by reference]
Forbes Burnham, prime minister of Guyana [by reference]
Ptolemy Reid, deputy prime minister of Guyana
Charles Garry, Temple attorney
Martin Luther King, civil rights activist
Charles Garry, Temple attorney
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco physician, newspaper publisher
Joe Mazor, private detective who left Concerned Relatives
President Jimmy Carter
Senator John Stennis (D-Miss.)
Unita Blackwell Wright, mayor of Fayetteville, Mississippi [by reference]
Thomas Dawsey, Air Force officer who allegedly spied on Temple [by reference]
Leon Joly, Air Force officer who allegedly spied on Temple [by reference]
Vibert Mingo, Minister of Home Affairs of Guyana [by reference]
Dr. Patrick Ng-a-Fook, Guyanese dentist [by reference]
Marceline Jones [by reference]
Bible verses cited: None
This tape consists of two distinct parts, with the second being of more significance (and also more closely matching the date on the Temple’s own identification note).
The second part was recorded as a series of messages to the Jonestown community during the final hours in early September 1978 before the arrival of Joe Mazor, a private detective who had once been employed by the Concerned Relatives before he decided to throw his allegiance to the people of Jonestown. Because of this flip – and because of the man’s shady background, including stints with covert operations – Jones is concerned that Mazor may not be who he says he is. He is coming to Jonestown ostensibly to reveal the details of the conspiracy against them, but “he easily could be a double agent.” Jones doesn’t trust the man, and neither – according to Jones – does the government of Guyana, which has spent time with him in the previous few days.
Jones reiterates the messages of the past few weeks, ever since they knew of Mazor’s impending arrival: be warm and friendly, but don’t initiate conversations. Tell him how much you love Jonestown and the host country of Guyana, how you came of your own free will, and how you don’t want to return to the US.
There are new concerns that arise as the hour draws near. Mazor may be wearing a microphone – he might also be carrying drugs to plant, in an effort to discredit the community – and Jones ponders aloud whether they should search him. They have never done this before with any previous visitor, but surely, given Mazor’s own admissions of working with the CIA, he would understand and accede to the request. In the next message, the concern has migrated from a hidden microphone to the contents of a satchel. Mazor has already turned down a request for permission to look in it – whether the request was by Guyana or by Temple headquarters in Georgetown is unknown ¬– but they have to decide what to do. In the next message, Jones has a compromise solution: ask Mazor to leave the unopened satchel in the possession of their attorney, Charles Garry, who has helped arrange for Mazor to come.
Part I of the tape was likely made considerably earlier – perhaps days, more likely several weeks – than the second half. The news items include references to events that have been planned for early September, and his description of a three-week-old general strike in Nicaragua that began in mid-July would put the news portion of the tape in early August.
Jones’ voice deteriorates throughout this portion of the tape, becoming more slurred and disjointed, and towards the end, he reads the same words over and over, seemingly without awareness that he is repeating himself. He says early in the tape that he didn’t sleep the night before and is “really feeling it,” but by the end of this portion, he says he has been up for several nights in a row, that he has a temperature of 103, and that he has a “laryngitic voice.” At the beginning, he is able to strike a defiant tone along with his announcement of his fatigue – “But I’ll come through, don’t you worry” – but by the end, he has admitted that, “I am so tired, that I feel almost like going to sleep while giving the news.”
His tone of a disapproving father appears elsewhere in the tape as well, especially at the beginning. Following a news item about students in Chile demonstrating against the military junta, he remarks that he knows people in Jonestown are eager to fight in revolutions – and that revolutionary leaders in other nations are aware of the offer – but “[i]n the meantime, if you can’t do a few little chores right, I don’t think you’re ready for the kind of resistance that these brave young people showed in Chile.”
Jones’ preoccupation with nuclear war manifests itself once. A news item about the Laotian government declaring its support for Vietnam – and by extension, sympathizing with Vietnam’s rivalry with its longtime foe of China – leads Jones to reflect on Chinese communism. It has a good domestic form of communism, Jones says, “but her foreign policy is based on an arbitrary position, that there is no way to avoid nuclear war, so you should get it [over] with so that places like this that have been called zones of peace will survive and socialism can rebuild.”
Among other news items:
- Portugal’s government is in crisis;
- Evidence linking the Chilean government to the assassination of Orlando Letelier has led to purges and ouster;
- Panama issues a foreign policy paper calling for self-determination in Puerto Rico, the United States giving up its Guantanamo Naval Base, and the end to the embargo against Cuba;
- Angola is ready to establish diplomatic relations with the US – but on its own terms – as well as with Zaire;
- The Mexican Communist Party demands salary increases for workers;
- The new Bolivian dictatorship runs into resistance;
- South African military troops face off against resistance “freedom fighters.”
The newscast also includes several items which apparently originated in the party organ of the People’s National Congress, Guyana’s ruling political party, since the items unabashedly laud Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. Jones adds his own accolades along the way, though, declaring Jonestown’s loyalty to its adopted country on several occasions. After pointing out the positions which the country has taken on numerous issues that would antagonize the US, Jones declares that, “for a small nation, with no nuclear arsenal, you can’t ask for any more bravery than that.”
Each message – including the multiple messages of the tape’s second half – ends with Jones’ declaration of love to his people.
Date of transcription: 6/20/79
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 June 3, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-88. This tape was found to contain the following:
News of the day and commentary by JAMES JONES.
JONES states that a visitor named MAZER will be arriving shortly, and to be very careful in dealing with him, as he may be a conspirator.
JONES also states a prominent Guyanese Government Official will also be arriving shortly.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2016