Primary Project : Summaries
Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee, III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
Tape Number : Q 039
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FBI Catalogue: Identified Individuals Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: None
Date cues on tape: November 17 or 18, 1978
Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Carol Houston Boyd
Robert (Sammy) Houston (by reference)
Family members, full name unknown:
Judy Houston (speaks)
Patty Houston (speaks)
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was reviewed by Patrick Jones, who gave it additional contextual analysis. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)
Rep. Leo Ryan went to Guyana after having spoken to a number of the members of the Concerned Relatives organization and in the company of a few of its members – including Carol Houston Boyd, who went to Jonestown with Ryan and who is mentioned on the tape – as well as several reporters. But his initial interest in the Temple was sparked by a call from Sammy Houston, a friend and constituent, who was troubled that his granddaughters, Judy and Patty Houston, were being held in Jonestown against their will. As such, the Houston girls – along with their mother and Sammy’s former daughter-in-law Phyllis Houston, who had arrived in Jonestown a few days earlier as part of the Temple’s efforts to counter the congressman’s visit – were subjected to several press interviews, conversations with Ryan and his staff, and photo sessions.
The genesis of this particular tape is unknown – is it one made by the congressional party to take back to Ryan’s constituent? was it made by someone in Jonestown to send back to the States along with Ryan? – but it includes the same glowing report of life in Jonestown as does the surviving NBC footage of the two girls.
The tape could have been made on November 17, the day of Ryan’s arrival in Jonestown, especially since the Houston girls were of primary interest to the congressman and initially no one knew for sure whether he would be allowed back into the community for a second day. But because his party did not actually get into Jonestown much before dark that first night – leading to a request for a follow-up trip the next day to interview other residents and to allow the TV cameras to get their footage of Jonestown during the day – it is more likely that this tape was made on November 18. This would mean this tape is the last surviving tape made before the deaths began later that day.
Date of transcription: 2/9/79
Cassette tape identified as FBI Labatory [sic]; Number 81205068-Q39 was reviewed and determined to be approximately three minutes personal conversation of two persons believed to be PATRICIA and JUDY HOUSTON.
Differences with FBI Summary:
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