Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue Miscellaneous
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One TDK C-120/ News April 1
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with note
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Abraham Lincoln, former U.S. President
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-Michigan)
Kwame Nkrumah, former president of Ghana
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Moses Bhagwan, member of Guyana Parliament
Eleanor da Silva, member of Guyana Parliament
Peter D’Aguilar, head of the United Force
Hamilton Green, Guyana Minister of Health and Labor
Desmond Hoyte, Guyana Minister of Development
Cheddi Jagan, leader of People’s Progressive Party
Janet Jagan, wife of Cheddi Jagan
Ram Karan, member of Guyana Parliament
Eusi Kwayana, Guyana politician
Sase Narain, Guyana Minister
Kit Nascimento, Guyana government official
Harry Persaud, PPP parliamentary spokesman
Joshua Ramsammi [phonetic], Guyana political leader
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana
Walter Rodney, Guyana political leader
Angela Davis, member of Communist Party, black activist
Dan Mitrione, former Indiana police chief (by reference)
Huey Newton, leader of Black Panther Party
Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler
Hughel Harrison, judge in Flynt obscenity trial (by reference)
Chuck Ashman, investigative reporter, author and TV anchor
Emmett Griffith, Sr.
Lela Murphy (by reference)
Bible verses cited: None
Jim Jones presents the news to the Jonestown community on April 1, 1978. There may be two segments to the reading – there is a shift in recording quality two-thirds the way through – but the news items are contemporaneous.
The difference in this tape is that, while most of them are recorded from the radio room while members of the community go about their business – mostly working – this one involves some interaction with a large gathering of Jonestown residents at the pavilion. At one point, Jones breaks from his reading to get a sense of who is actually listening, and asks how many people have heard what he just said. By a show of hands, he estimates the number at 500. He then asks how many are willing to be tested on what they have just heard; only 15 hands go up.
Jones can come to only one conclusion: “This means that you are still for the most part liars,” he says. “You should not lie to your leader… Every time you lie, little children, seniors, middle-aged, you will be sorry, because you cut yourself off from growth, maturity and protection on a paranormal level that is absolutely outstanding.”
Even as he offers a couple of examples of the faithful whose lives were saved because they listened to him, he also presents two recent deaths from the Jonestown population as warnings. Referring to Lela Murphy, who died at the end of March, he says: “So don’t blame me if you get buried, like the woman that just died recently. [She] Said, I don’t like this damn place. Well, she’s parked over there someplace in the woods in a graveyard.” Even Emmett Griffith, whom Jones describes as “a good, good working man,” died several months before, because even though “I gave him prophecies about not smoking, he just couldn’t quite cut off from it.”
It is a way for Jones to thread the needle: He acknowledges the inevitable – “I’m not going to ignore death. Death is a process of life. We’ll mention it, we’ll give honor to those who’ve gone by” – but he has to navigate that with his longstanding assertion that members of Peoples Temple don’t die: “When you lie to your protector, liberator, savior, you are cutting off the line of energy flow to you.”
The reading of the news itself is relatively low-key. There are few of Jones’ descriptions of the US and its allies as racist or fascist, and his references to capitalism are as an economic system rather than as a derogatory adjective. Only at one point does Jones seem to go off-script.
The Temple leader had always considered black activist Angela Davis as an ally, and appreciated her defense of Jonestown during the six day siege. In reporting about a speaking tour she was on in the States, however, Jones describes what he perceives as her weaknesses, such as not showing support for the labor movement, being more of an entertainer than a worker, and not understanding the reason for the struggle. “I remember her saying to me once, I couldn’t be a socialist without knowing that it will succeed. And I love her. But I say, one must be a socialist because it’s right.” Nevertheless, as everyone in Jonestown knows, “Angela Davis has asked that she have a place here, if worse comes to worst,” and they would grant that request.
In the news itself, Jones reads a long description of the Working Peoples Alliance, a third party in Guyana politics headed by Walter Rodney, which was in conversation with the main opposition party, the PPP, to form a coalition against the ruling PNC. Even though the WPA disagrees with some of PPP’s policies and interpretation of crises facing the nation, it does agree on the need for a national patriotic front government.
At another point, Jones reports on the disputes between the PPP and the PNC on such issues as infrastructure projects – railroads, air lines, hydroelectric projects – as well as taxation, the size of the military, the border dispute with Surinam to the east, and the ruling party’s refusal to hold national elections. Jones rejects most of the PPP objections, though, reflecting his necessity for a continued alliance with Prime Minister Forbes Burnham.
Among other news items:
• 3300 women are being held as political prisoners in Uruguay, a social democracy overthrown by the CIA;
• Costa Rican elections marred by allegations of voting by dead people;
• Several African nations seek end of military rule; President Carter will prop up those regimes;
• Zimbabwean forces receive military help from other African nations in its campaign against the Rhodesian government;
• Children of people who fled Cuba make a triumphant return and are embraced by Castro;
• The assassination attempt on Hustler publisher Larry Flynt may have been a Mafia hit on behalf of the CIA.
Date of transcription: 3/22/79
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 March 20, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B62 #100. This tape was found to contain the following:
An oral summary of the news made by an unidentified male.
This tape was reviewed, and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of Congressman RYAN.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted June 2021.