Q997 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. 2).
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FBI Catalogue           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: None

Date cues on tape:     May 4 and 5, 1978 (Specifies Thursday and Friday of week after May Day and with news of South African troops invading Angola)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, President of US
Senator John Stennis (D-Mississippi)
L. Patrick Gray, former director of FBI


Adolf Hitler, German Führer
Giulio Andreotti, Italian Prime Minister
Aldo Moro, former Italian Prime Minister
Menachim Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
King Hussein of Jordan
Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Mohammad Mosaddegh, former premier of Iran (by reference)
Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam
Mrs. Ceciline Baird, Prochancellor of University of Guyana
Shirley Field-Ridley, Guyana Minister of Information (by reference)
Hamilton Green, Guyana Minister of Health
Cheddi Jagan, leader of Guyana’s PPP
Vibert Mingo, Guyana Minister of Home Affairs
Palimore [phonetic], Guyana labor leader


Gus Hall, National Secretary of CPUSA
Henry Winston, Chairman of CPUSA


Dr. de Costa, unknown visitor to Jonestown
Walter Thain, MARCO medical net director and Jonestown visitor


Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Timothy O. Stoen


Temple members in Guyana:
Paula Adams


Bible verses cited: None


This tape comprises three news summaries read by Jim Jones on May 4 and 5, 1978.

While the news focuses on international events as do many of the Jonestown newscasts, this tape is unusual in the amount of coverage given to Guyana’s internal affairs. Even more unusual is Jones’ attention to editorials and news from The Mirror, the organ of Guyana’s opposition PPP and of Cheddi Jagan, the rival of Jones’ principal political allies in the PNC.

The coverage is partially explained by an unexpected success which Jonestown has had in Georgetown. The community had provided entertainers for the annual May Day parade a few days prior to this reading, and the feedback Jones received was uniformly positive. They garnered much media attention as well as invitations to participate in future events. More importantly, tangible benefits seem to have emerged: one government minister had awarded more gun licenses to allow Jonestown to protect itself against mercenaries; an information minister had backed off on her reservations about greater coverage of Jonestown in the Guyana press; the health minister suggested that the Jonestown clinic might become “an official hospital, which would enable us to get all supplies in duty free”; and even on the legal front, Jonestown had more permission to decide who would be able to visit the project.

Whether these developments emboldened him of not, Jones read several stories which, if not completely critical of his benefactors, highlighted the history of some of Guyana’s longstanding political disputes and the positive roles of the opposition parties in them, including on labor issues. Jones also presents the arguments of the opposition parties to the upcoming referendum that would grant more power to the ruling PNC.

He reads most of the Guyana news without much editorial comment, but the rest of the international coverage includes his familiar rhetoric. The Soviet Union is the avant-garde of liberation, and those guerilla groups which the US designates as terrorist are actually freedom fighters, The United States is irredeemably racist, monopoly capitalistic and imperialistic. Its allies, such as Britain, the Union of South Africa, and Israel, are fascist, militaristic, and exploitative of its workers. On three separate occasions, Jones concludes a story with his observation that the outrages being perpetuated by US allies are made possible by the US taxpayer – and that includes them. The knowledge that every time they bought a Coca-Cola or a hamburger or went to the movies, they were paying taxes to support these campaigns against working people, should cause them great grief and guilt.

Jones goes on one other tangent, when he describes the press as being an arm of the state which is used to brainwash the citizenry, to justify actions taken against the working class and allow poverty to swell in the United States, and to smear leftist and progressive causes. “They are the terrorists, the press and the state.” It is not known whether Jones is reading from one of his main news sources from the Soviet bloc, or if this is a spontaneous aside.

Other news items include:

• Vietnam and China are on the brink of war; Chinese citizens in Vietnam prepare to flee;
• Several African nations come to Angola’s aid in its resistance to South Africa’s military incursion;
• The Daily World newspaper building burns in New York;
• Protest in Iran against the Shah are supported by world trade union and socialist nations;
• Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is still being held by the Red Brigade;
• As a demonstration of the Red Brigade’s compassion, it shoots only the legs of its opponents in Italy;
• England may abandon constitutional democracy;
• Scotland Yard investigation involves cars shipped to Caribbean;
• Wave of strikes in Japan continues;
• Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in US to improve relations;
• Palestine Liberation Front gets more support from Arab states;
• Carter wants to supply arms to Arab states;
• US steel corporations support companies in South Africa that exploit black workers;

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 26, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-62. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES providing a summary of news and current world events to his followers in Guyana. This tape consists of approximately 28 tape minutes. The remaining portions of this tape are blank and appear to contain no items of an evidentiary nature.

Differences with FBI Summary:

Other than the fact that the tape is 58 minutes long, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted June 2021.