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: late August 1978 (Prime Minister of Portugal, who lost job on August 28, “will fall this week”)
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Mario Soares, Prime Minister of Portugal
Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda
Steve Biko, South African political prisoner
John Vorster, prime minister of Republic of South Africa
Dennis Banks, leader of American Indian Movement
Martin Luther King, assassinated civil rights activist
Russell Means, leader of American Indian Movement
Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of Pres. John F. Kennedy
Marina Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife (by reference)
Guy Wright, San Francisco Examiner columnist
Deanna Mertle, aka Al Mills
Elmer Mertle, aka Jeannie Mills
Beverly Oliver (by reference)
Howard Oliver (by reference)
Donald Warden, attorney for Olivers
Chris Lewis, Temple member murdered in San Francisco in 1977
Jim Jones Jr.
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Vera Marie “Mom” Talley
Bible verses cited: None
Three months before the people of Jonestown died, a number of residents have made complaints about life in the jungle, and several have expressed a desire to return to the United States. In this relatively short tape, Jim Jones spends much of the time reminding people why they decided to leave the US in the first place, and how much worse it has become during the year they have been in Guyana.
There is hate everywhere in the U.S., he says, and it has affected Peoples Temple directly. Church members hit the streets of San Francisco with leaflets and literature, and while some passersby were sympathetic and willing to accept the handouts, most were full of hate. Even those who did take the literature were reluctant to do more than that. When Temple members asked for their names, they wouldn’t reply. “The ones that had any tears or any feeling were afraid, they were terrified.”
The hate has affected their onetime allies. A newspaper columnist who was friendly to the Temple and who used to promote progressive causes, had recently come out in support of apartheid in South Africa.
His voice rising, Jones tells people to wake up to what’s going on around them. He has seen people try to stay out of his sight, to slip off to the sides of the crowd, like they’re better than their comrades. But that is elitism, he says, and they need to realize how they can sacrifice themselves to benefit everyone.
A number of his statistics are familiar to the people of Jonestown. He talks about the disproportionate number of minorities in jail – black, brown and Indian – and how they have been conditioned to kill each other. He talks about the poor whites and blacks who are too poor to afford an attorney, and in reality, “the only crime they committed was they were too poor, they were working class.”
Both racism and elitism are inevitable results of the class system, and they need to learn how to hate that system and fight it with all their strength. “Hate’s not our enemy. If we don’t hate that system, they’ll kill us… [We] find that we have to quiver with hate.”
They have lived in crisis all their lives, he says, including in Jonestown, but this is where they’ll make their stand. No one is going back, and even if the government of Guyana falls or turns against Jonestown, “they still got to march out here. We’ll still be on this hill.”
As for him, he’s glad they came. Even if the whole experiment ended the next day, “it’s still given us more joy in these months, if it finishes tomorrow. ‘Cause we had purpose. We had a principle.” And when he dies on the front line of the battle – as he is sure he will – that will be the time for some of them to “get back there and take care of the sons-of-bitches” that fought them.
His defiance echoes midway through his address: “Love and self-indulgence is our enemy.”
Date of transcription: 6/26/79
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 26, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-7R60. This tape was found to contain the following:
A recording of the members of People’s Temple performing and JIM JONES scolding some of the members for wanting to return to the United States.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted June 2021.