Q985 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

To read the Tape Transcript, click here. Listen to MP3 (Pt. 1Pt. 2Pt. 3Pt. 4)
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FBI Catalogue           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: None

Date cues on tape:     Early August 1978, in context with Q 192

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
John F. Kennedy, assassinated President
Lyndon Johnson, former President
Richard Nixon, former President
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass)
Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-NY), assassinated presidential candidate
Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.)
Remigia Ferrari-Scacco, wife of Sen. Brooke
Rep. Yvonne Burke (D-CA)
Rep. Shirley Mae Chisholm (D-NY)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Texas)


Stansfield Turner, head of CIA (by reference)
Leon Jaworski, House investigator
Andrew Young, U.S. representative to United Nations
Maynard Jackson, Mayor of Atlanta
Ronald Reagan, former governor of California


Genghis Khan, leader of Mongol Empire
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Margaret Thatcher, leader of British Conservative Party
Aldo Moro, kidnapped Italian prime minister
Eleonora Chiavarelli, wife of Aldo Moro (by reference)
Nikita Khrushchev, former Soviet premier
Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Muhammad bin Abdulaziz, leader of Saudi Arabia (by reference)
Idi Amin, Uganda dictator
Julius Nyerere, president of Tanzania
Kim Il Sung, leader of North Korea
Kim Bo-hyon, grandfather of Kim Il Sung (by reference)
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Anastasio Somoza, dictator of Nicaragua
General Augusto Pinochet, leader of Chilean junta
Salvador Allende, assassinated Chilean leader
Orlando Letelier, assassinated Chilean foreign minister


Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister
George King, Guyana Minister of Trade
Laurence Mann, Guyana Ambassador to US (by reference)
Dr. Ng-A-Fook, Guyana dentist


Alexander Ginzburg, Soviet dissident (by reference)
Natan Sharansky, Soviet dissident (by reference)


Billy Carter, brother of Pres. Carter (by reference)
Angela Davis, black activist
Mervyn Dymally, California Lieutenant Governor
Daniel Ellsberg, Defense analyst who leaked Pentagon Papers
Paul Erdman, author of The Crash of 1979 (by reference)
Marcus Garvey, Pan-African black nationalist
J. Paul Getty, Getty Oil heir, philanthropist
J. Paul Getty III, grandson of Getty (by reference)
Theodore Hesburgh, member of Civil Rights Commission
Benjamin Hooks, NAACP President
Martin Luther King, assassinated civil rights leader
Malcolm X, assassinated civil rights leader
Sun Myung Moon, religious leader
Rupert Murdoch, newspaper magnate
Huey Newton, leader of Black Panthers
Mark Twain, American humorist
Barbara Walters, broadcast journalist


Thomas Fleming, reporter for San Francisco Sun-Reporter
Don Freed, screenwriter (by reference)
Charles Garry, Temple attorney (by reference)
Steve Gavin, editor of San Francisco Chronicle
Kathy Hunter, Ukiah reporter
Mark Lane, Temple attorney (by reference)
John V Moore, Methodist minister
Cleo Wallace, San Francisco Housing Commissioner


Jim Jones Jr. grandfather, either James Thurman Jones, or Walter Baldwin (by reference)


Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Mike Cartmell
Jim Cobb
Tim Stoen


Temple members not in Jonestown:
Norman Ijames
Chris Lewis, murdered Temple member
Pearson family
Nell Smart


Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Carol [likely Kerns]
Kim [likely Brewster, could by Fye]
Jessie [three in Jonestown, likely Jessie Jones]
Nancy [three in Jonestown: Jones, Clay or Sines]
Nena [likely Herring, could be Downs] (speaks)
Odell [either Blackwell or Rhodes] (speaks)


Jonestown residents:
Paula Adams (by reference)
Gerry Bailey (speaks)
Carl Barnett
Jack Beam
Philip Blakey
Wesley Breidenbach
Eugene Chaikin (speaks but too soft)
Vernetta Christian
Edith Cordell
Harold Cordell
Loretta Cordell
Mark Cordell
Nena Downs
John Gardener
Danielle Mitchell Gardfrey (speaks)
Amondo Griffith
Pauline Groot
Florence Heath (speaks)
Anthony Hicks (speaks)
Daren Janaro (by reference)
Mauri Janaro (by reference)
Richard Janaro
Jim Jones Jr.
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Stephan Jones
Teresa King
Carolyn Kirkendall
Dan Kutulas
Tish Leroy
Paul McCann
Jim McElvane
Joyce McIntyre
Beverly Mitchell (speaks)
Guy Mitchell (speaks)
Cleveland Newell
Karl Newell
Keith Newsome (speaks)
Ken Norton, aka Gerald Richard Grubbs
Kenny Reed
Edith Roller (speaks)
Lula Ruben
Laurence Schacht (speaks but too soft)
Alvin Simon (by reference)
Jose Simon
Jewell James Simpson
Youlanda Smith (speaks)
Dorrus Soloman
Tracy Stone
Bobby Stroud
Cleave Swinney
Helen Swinney
Tim Swinney
Ron Talley
Etta Thompson (speaks)
Al Touchette
Dick Tropp
Cornelius Truss
Walter Williams
Jan Wilsey
Burrell Wilson
Ezekiel Wilson
Dorothy Worley

Bible verses cited: None


Jim Jones presides over a meeting of the Jonestown community, likely in late July or early August 1978. The meeting focuses on two things: preparation for a news quiz which will be held the following night, and a discussion of disciplinary problems.

The preparation for the test is consistent with the multiple news tapes from this period, and while Jonestown residents answer the questions he poses, he often limits their replies to one or two sentences before he expands upon them to reinforce the messages he has given them before. Almost all news items place the U.S. in a bad light, showing how “horrible” and “terrifying” the country they left behind continues to treat blacks and minorities – how the Ku Klux Klan continues to grow, how black legislators are singled out for reprimands and censure, how black prisoners fill the jails of America to overcapacity – and all the ways capitalism works against the interests of the poor and middle class, both home and abroad. The editorial asides he makes are reminiscent of his newscasts as well: the tax dollars we spend to support the regime of South Africa should cause them great guilt, capitalists will turn upon their own if it’s in their own interests, the work camps proposed for wayward youth are like Hitler’s concentration camps.

Jones’ lifelong belief in the inevitability of nuclear war pervades this portion of the tape as well. The subject arises almost a dozen times in the two-hour tape, including his quoting of Daniel Ellsberg that the atomic holocaust would turn the US into a nuclear desert, that they wouldn’t have been safe anywhere in the US (although they are safe in the zone of peace in Guyana), and that China urges the onset of the war to get it over with “before bombs spread to every nation in the southern hemisphere.” Indeed, Jones says twice, there are governments that believe World War III has already started.

There are other familiar subjects. A news item about a Mormon family whose parents killed their children before committing suicide themselves allows Jones to criticize both religion and “selfish” suicide, the latter being “a counterrevolutionary act.” Suicide is wrong, he says, because “it hurts other people, it leaves a void, it leaves a vacuum somewhere, and somebody’s bound to be hurt.” Part of that void is the fact that others are left behind to take on the work the suicide has left undone. Moreover, the soul of a suicide will return to earth in a life which is even more miserable than the one it left behind. The same considerations don’t apply, of course, if the act is “revolutionary suicide, and we who are socialist… would give our bodies for a cause if there was a last stand.”

Jones reminds his followers on several occasions of how much he has done for them, and continues to do for them, then bemoans how ungrateful so many of them are. “They never remember the times I got people out of jail, even some of their own loved ones, even themselves, they never remember the times I risked going to jail myself… for their own damn foolishness, I was willing to die in jail, be tortured, whatever for them, they don’t remember that.”

He insists that his life is full of pain that they cannot know, that he wishes it could be over, but in return, he gets nothing. That’s okay for him, but he wants them to know about it. “There oughta be more respect here. When Mother [Marceline Jones] walks in, Dad walks in, I don’t want it, I hate it, ‘cause leadership is pain. I haven’t had a happy personal thought for I don’t know how long. I’m in a prison here, I’m in a prison, I’d like to’ve died in a jail cell over nothing but a protest, because that’s what I want to do, but that’d been selfish, because I owed it to the children.”

He also continues because he is the only true communist, and all he’s trying to do is to bring others to where he is. “Unless somebody is a communist, they cannot understand me. And if they’re not willing to give of themselves, I represent such a threat to them that they would kill me in a minute.”

The community considers several issues affecting their own survival. After pointing out that Jonestown is the envy of the communist paradise of North Korea because it has been able to function without cash money, Jones does reiterate that things cost money, that they need to find new ways to make money. “We will be self-sufficient. And that’s why we’re trying to do that here in Jonestown, is to build our soap, make our own clothes, make our own bricks, do our own things, provide our own foods.”

He also asks his followers several times to avoid the things that waste money. That waste includes food, the portions that people take and don’t eat, “and you’re wasting it when you’re waddling around here like a duck, too heavy, you’re wasting it when you dump it inside you.”

All the decisions in Jonestown should be for the advancement of the community, Jones says, even if it means self-sacrifice. “I’d even hate to see people fall in love, because they fall in love, they’ll forget the problems of the greater family. You can see ‘em preoccupied.” It’s nothing but selfish needs and narcissism that drives those relationships, and we should “forget our own needs … until every one of our people are safe.” There is no indication of when that moment will be, especially when he considers that there are “hundreds more that we can give liberty to,” and when that’s done, “we could then have them organized to go back or go in this continent and help with other liberation movements, or in Africa. The future is bright if we get our shit together.”

Much of the final portion of the tape consists of criticism, both of the self and by the community. One woman confesses that her acceptance of a friend’s offer to cover her work shift, rather than viewing it as considerate, made her guilty of favoritism. Dick Tropp, one of Jonestown’s lawyers, admitted that he was guilty of intellectualism because he was using his education to get out of work and as an excuse for anarchy, and as Jones said, “he said, people like him should be shot at the end.” A woman gave Jones a number of good ideas on an undisclosed issue, but when she added she though Dad might be naïve on the subject, that’s where she stepped out of bounds.

The harshest and most prolonged criticism, however, is reserved for 13-year-old Danielle Gardfrey, who – according to a friend – wants to go back to her home in Texas. Danielle denies the charge numerous times – she says she wondered what was happening back there, but “I didn’t say nothing about going back to the States” – but that doesn’t stop Jones from using her as a whipping boy during his continued attacks on life in the US. Eventually, other people in the community take their cues from Jones, and contribute their own criticisms.

She is reminded about the racism and oppression in the States, and asked whether she remembers the testimony of older black women and indeed of her own foster father who’ve spoken of their experiences. She’s told that attitudes like her contribute to sickness and death. She’s criticized by one teacher who says that, even though Danielle is a good student, “your theory doesn’t fit your practice at all, makes you a theoretical Marxist.” Even the flash floods that recently devastated Texas – and that’s not even considering the devastation that nuclear war would bring – should count against any consideration of going back. What it comes down to, Jones concludes, is that it is a “cardinal offense here to talk about United States and glorify it.”

In addition to everything else, Danielle doesn’t smile nor speak to anyone, which she acknowledges. Jones says he always does, no matter how tired or preoccupied he is, that he always greets people passing by. Marceline says she thinks Danielle’s sullenness is “because this is your way of saying, I want your attention, Dad. I’m pouting.” Everyone agrees – “Won’t you start smiling now?” one woman calls out – but in the end, it goes to a pronouncement by Jones: “I’m going to demand people smile here, or we’re gonna make it a Public Service offence.”

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/27/79

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 25, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-50. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES quizzing the membership on the news during a “People’s Rally” followed by criticisms of the membership.

Differences with FBI Summary:

The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted June 2021.