Q223 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: Labeled in part “July 28, 1978 News”

Date cues on tape:     Tape contents consistent with identification note 

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, President of US
former President Gerald Ford
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Mayor of New York John Lindsay


Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia
Park Chung Hee, President of South Korea [by reference]


Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Rashleigh Jackson, Guyana Foreign Minister
Hamilton Green, Guyana Minister of Health and Labor
Joshua Ramsammi, Guyana political leader
Oscar Clarke, Guyana regional minister
Lionel Luckhoo, Guyanese attorney


Louise Brown, first test tube baby
Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate
Christine Onassis, daughter of Aristotle Onassis
Jackie Kennedy Onassis, former first lady, wife of Aristotle Onassis
Sergei Kauzov, husband of Christina Onassis [by reference]
Dessie Woods, black woman who killed alleged rapist


Abel Tasman, Dutch explorer who claimed New Zealand for Europe
Captain James Cook
Henry VIII, English king


Jonestown residents:
Kay Nelson
Tinetra Fain [by reference]
Al Smart [by reference]
Scott Smart [by reference]
Teri Smart [by reference]

Bible verses cited:     None


(This tape was transcribed by Nicole Bissett. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance. 

Jim Jones reads the news for July 28, 1978.

While there is some of the usual coverage of international news, the emphasis in this reading is on news out of Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean. In recent weeks, Guyana has ratified a constitutional referendum which expands the powers of the prime minister, and, as Jones reports, Forbes Burnham is already announcing plans to exercise the power.

As with most of these broadcasts, Jones laces the items with the rhetoric reflecting his self-described socialist bent, although whether the actual language comes from the news items themselves or from Jones’ editorializing is unclear.

What is undoubtedly Jones’ own commentary is his return to a theme found in many of his sermons about poverty and hunger. Among his criticisms of the birth of the first test tube baby – beyond the wasteful expenditure of thousands of dollars and the opportunity being available only to the rich – is that, “Something seems very, very wrong about this, in a world where two out of three babies are going to bed hungry.”

An equally familiar commentary is his interjection of the inevitability of nuclear holocaust. In the first instance, he reads an item about an effort to improve driver safety in Guyana, then comments on the increasing road rage on American highways, and then adds, “With that kind of murderous aggressive syndrome, you know what’s going to happen when some of them … have fingers on the nuclear button, the missiles that can be sent into the air, that will destroy a whole city and burn it to the ground.” Later, he returns to the story of the test tube baby, and the potential for cloning and genetic engineering. “This is one damn nightmare,” he concludes. “Fortunately, probably there’ll be a nuclear war that’ll wipe out that technological scum of imperialism before they get done.”

The test tube baby allows him to reprise another familiar subject, the immortality of creating life in a laboratory when “two out of three babies are going to bed hungry.”

There is at least one item which relates directly to Jonestown. Burnham’s suggestion that people should use the yards of their homes to grow vegetables instead of letting them go to weeds, leads to Jones’ demand that their community does the same.

Among other items:

  • Burnham laments the brain drain that leads to emigration of its professional class;
  • Efforts are underway to establish an independent news service in the Caribbean;
  • Non-aligned nations convene in Belgrade;
  • The African National Congress calls for a boycott of the Canadian games;
  • South Africa rejects the UN resolution on Namibian independence;
  • The US will withdraw its military forces from Korea within five years;
  • President Carter may drop his proposal for a reduction in capital gains taxes;
  • Christine Onassis will marry a communist and live in Moscow.

The day’s geography and history lesson is on New Zealand.

Jones concludes his remarks with his usual exhortation to work hard and produce, and to beautify the areas around people’s cottage in anticipation of the arrival of several guests.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/4/79

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 May 28, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B70-9. This tape was found to contain the following:

News and commentary; a reading of current events by JIM JONES.

JONES also stated that important visitors were expected and everyone would have to work very hard to clean up the area.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

 Tape originally posted January 2022.