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: None
Date cues on tape: Spring 1978 (reference to recent arrivals of Mitchells in March and upcoming elections in Bolivia in June)
Vladimir Ilich Lenin, father of Russian Revolution
Karl Marx, German economist,
Fyodor Dan, leader of the Mensheviks
Josef Stalin, former Soviet dictator
Leon Trotsky, Communist activist murdered by Stalin
Mao Tse-Tung, leader of People’s Republic of China
Obleeku [phonetic], tortured Rhodesian freedom fighter
John Paul Getty, Jr [by reference]
John Paul Getty III, kidnapped grandson [by reference]
Malcolm X, black activist with Nation of Islam
Sir Harold Bollers, Chief Justice of Guyana’s Supreme Court [by reference]
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana
Rasleigh Jackson, foreign Minister of Guyana [by reference]
Mr. Melvin, unknown Guyanese man
George/Mr. George, unknown Guyanese man
Beverly Oliver [by reference]
Howard Oliver [by reference]
Carol (several in Jonestown)
George (could be George Phillips, aka George Forks)
Jack (likely Beam, could be Barron)
Brother Johnson (numerous)
Mary (several in Jonestown)
Patty (several in Jonestown) (speaks)
Sister Perkins (several, most likely Lenora)
Tommy (most likely Bogue)
Marceline Jones [by reference]
Gertrude Nailor (speaks)
Bruce Oliver [by reference]
William Oliver [by reference]
Larry Schacht [by reference]
John Victor Stoen
Virginia “Mom” Taylor
Bible verses cited: None
(This tape was transcribed by Nightrissa Crosby. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This tape of a night meeting in Jonestown in the spring of 1978 opens with Jones declaring it to be his “marathon and almost futile efforts to explore our conscience.” He also says very early that his blood sugar is extremely low, which causes “headaches and dizziness [and] extreme irritation.”
Whatever the reason, Jones’ behavior in this tape is very erratic. Occasionally he seems to be picking fights, setting up arguments between husbands and wives; occasionally, he leads a conversation about the relationships among the Russian leaders who created the Soviet state; occasionally, he joins in the laughter as one Jonestown resident relates an anecdote; and throughout, he blasts the enemies of the conspiracy, whether the enemies are in the form of the Concerned Relatives – Tim Stoen in particular – or the US government, especially the Georgetown Embassy. The shifts in his tone of voice, his swings between benevolence and menace, his characterizations of the community’s relationship with the host government, all swing wildly and with little transition between them.
But most consistently, Jones seems to be in an ill-tempered mood towards his own followers. He complains about people sleeping during the meeting, not working during the day, refusing to rise to their leadership potentials, and faking injuries to get out of their responsibilities. He then refers to his favorite quote by Mao Tse-tung, that power comes from the barrel of a gun, and dares people to continue to dismiss his criticisms. “I’ll bet you if I pointed my revolver at you, I bet your eyes would get open.… I bet you, I put my gun on you, I bet you’d work all night without stopping.”
His intention, as he says, is to make them reflect on the privileges they’ve all had, and continue to have in Jonestown, and how much better off they are now, both as individuals and as a community. “Got no reason to feel tired. You ought to feel guilty tonight.” He wants them to feel like a zero – “We’re supposed to be nothing, nothing, nothing, crucified, nothing” – so they can empathize with the world’s oppressed. Every time they drink Coca-Cola, every time they pay taxes, they should have felt guilty, because they are supporting a racist government that tortures blacks, an FBI that assassinates black leaders. They are all murderers and killers, he repeats, even the small children who eat the food that their parents have paid taxes on. And because they are killers, they have to make restitution, which – for Jones – means they need to produce food in the fields, not only to bring in more people from San Francisco, “to give them a chance to get out of the racist hell,” but also to “make a revolutionary core to build a better world.” To that end, they need to understand that, “Laziness does not go in socialism.”
Whatever they have to eat, they should ponder – as he does – the tragedy of the young black child in South Africa who was forced to participate in the torture of his own father. “I don’t think you’re that bad off tonight. I really think if you kept that in your mind, you’d feel less miserable.”
Even though the meeting is not considered a White Night, the subject of death is never far away. While he himself raises the subject a half dozen times, he complains about how often they discuss it, that it seems like a parlor game. But for him, it’s because he’s tired of life. “I’d rather die a thousand times than talk about it. Goddamn talkathons on death, I’m sick of ‘em.” Nevertheless, he extols the wisdom of the child who, according to Jones, told his leader that the people of Jonestown were going to win, but “even if we don’t, if we die, we’ll win.”
Date of transcription: 6/25/79
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 22, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-28. This tape was found to contain the following:
A lecture and rally led by JIM JONES before a Jonestown congregation wherein JONES alludes to his low blood sugar count which is proving to be very painful. In addition, JONES hosts a question and answer session which concludes the 34 minute tape.
The remaining portions of the tape are blank and appear to contain no items of an evidentiary nature.
Differences with FBI Summary:
Aside from the fact that the tape is 70 minutes, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted March 2017.