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 ConcerTape C-120/ “News of the Day, April 4, 1978”
Date cues on tape: Contents of tape consistent with identification note
Jimmy Carter, President of US
Gerald Ford, former U.S. President
John Kennedy, former U.S. President
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford
Sen. George McGovern (D-SD)
Sen. John Stennis (D-MS)
Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
Rep. Miller, unknown Congressman allegedly arrested for homosexual acts
Otto Kerner, former Ohio governor, head of Kerner Commission
[first name unknown] Brown, black general forced to retire
Karl Marx, German economist, father of communism
Margaret Thatcher, leader of Conservative Party in Great Britain
Giulio Andreotti, Italian Prime Minister
Aldo Moro, former Italian Prime Minister
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
William Tolbert, president of Liberia
Johannes Vorster, prime minister of Republic of South Africa
Kriangsak Chamanan, Thai Prime Minister
Ferdinand Marcos, president of Philippines
Park Chung Hee, President of South Korea
Tongsun Park, Korean businessman involved in scandal
Carlos Andres Perez, president of Venezuela
Walter Rodney, political activist in Guyana
Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King
Harry T. and Hariette Moore, slain civil rights activists
Reverend George Lee, slain civil rights activist
Medgar Evers, slain civil rights activist
William Moore, slain civil rights activist
Robert Louis Christian
Bible verses cited: None
Jim Jones reads the news for April 4, 1978. The news includes several extended commentaries as well as exhortations for the people of Jonestown to produce, to keep their community clean and well-kept in anticipation of visitors at any moment, and to remember the gifts that they have received from their Father. It concludes with a remember of how strong their commitment must be to their Cause, even unto death.
Some of the commentary stems from the fact that it is the tenth anniversary of the Martin Luther King assassination, and Jones quotes from a Guyanese paper to reinforce his own views, that “we did not agree that peace, pacifism and non-violence could bring” about an end to political assassinations of black leaders, much less a guarantee of rights for blacks and other minorities.
Jones also provides the extensive commentary from The Guyana Chronicle’s Sunday edition of two days earlier that rips apart a special report in Time Magazine on the failure and imminent collapse of socialism. “The mounting popularity and influence of socialism throughout the world is provoking imperialist propaganda machinery to intensely attack against the system,” Jones says. “It is worth noting, because it unwittingly exposes the confusion and concern of imperialism in the face of the world socialist revolutionary process that is destined to liberate all of the oppressed of the world.”
The commentary is typical of Jones’ rhetoric throughout the tape, and in fact, in most of the news briefings throughout 1978. The US is irretrievably capitalist and imperialist, its allies and puppet states are fascist (a word he uses 19 times) and racist (six times), and all are standing in history’s path. On the other hand, the USSR is the vanguard of liberation, and the other liberation movements around the world will ultimately prevail.
It is not known whether this rhetoric comes from the news copy that Jones reads, or if the editorialization is his own. On the other hand, the several references to the inevitability of nuclear war, the discussion of the neutron bomb, developed by the US to kill people but leave property intact, and the specter of concentration camps and forced ghettoization for minorities in the US, are undoubtedly from Jones himself.
So too perhaps is his double standard in differentiating between acts of terror and acts of liberation. The Red Brigade in Italy has kidnapped former Prime Minister Aldo Moro and are holding him “for mere release of political prisoners.” To demonstrate that they’re serious in their demands, they have cut off Moro’s ear and sent it to the government (they would later kill their hostage). In response, “the national police have put up this common group of criminals, common thugs, fascists, and Mafia into killing socialist and communists in jail, members of the Red Brigade.”
Jones’ messages to his own community were, in the main, familiar – the instructions to produce more and to keep the community clean became almost rote – and survivors report that these demands usually washed over them like white noise. So too is Jones’ statement of defiance near the tape’s end, when he speaks of how all their successes will draw all oppressed people to Jonestown, and how they will all stand together, not allowing anyone to come in and take away a single member of the community. Less certain is how they perceived Jones’ exhortation to stay true to their cause, even to death. His final message of that day include a preview of two themes they would hear on November 18: the responsibility to save their children, and their need to send a message to the world.
For no man shall take our life. We will lay it down only when we get prepared for the cause of revolution or to bring a message redounding for justice on the behalf of oppressed peoples. We are fortunate people to have something to live for, to be able to protect our children, to even be able to protect them in revolutionary suicide, if the worse came to worse.
Among the remaining news items covered in the tape:
- Guyana’s ruling political party is losing members, even as it drifts to the left;
- A member of an anti-Nazi group in England is injured by a bomb;
- 16 white supremacy groups have sprung up in the US in recent months;
- The US volunteer army is mostly black, and the Pentagon worries they may not want to fight;
- A coalition of tribal chiefs in Namibia resist the puppet government;
- Rhodesian troops are torturing schoolchildren;
- UN peace-keeping forces take no action against Israeli troops who kill Swedish soldiers;
- A Korean businessman speaks of bribing scores of congresspeople;
- The CIA is still engaged in drug-trafficking, and dumping them onto America’s youth;
- President Carter’s poll numbers fall, even as he launches a tour of four nations around the world.
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 #97. 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 FBI summary of this tape was made in March 1979, early in the process of reviewing what it had collected from Jonestown. Had the review occurred even a month later, it is likely the agent listening to it would have recognized the voice reading the news as that of Jim Jones. Other than that, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2022.