Q351 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 “7/10/78”

Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with label date of July 10, 1978

People named:
Public figures/National and international names:

Part I:
Jimmy Carter, U.S. president
Cyrus Vance, US Secretary of State
Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)

Adolf Hitler, German Führer
Georg Hegel, German philosopher
Salvador Allende, assassinated President of Chile
Suharto, President of Indonesia
Attila the Hun
Steve Biko, murdered South African black activist
Alexander Ginzburg, Soviet dissident
Natan Sharansky, Soviet dissident
Victor Jara, Chilean dissident
Johanna Voyim [phonetic]

Alan Paton, South African writer
George Meany, U.S. labor leader
Margaret Mead, anthropologist
Martin Luther King, slain civil rights leader
Malcolm X, slain black activist

Part II:
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Malcolm X, slain black activist
Martin Luther King, slain civil rights leader

Temple members not in Jonestown

Part I:
Jim Ingram
Chris Lewis

Jonestown residents, full name unknown

Part I:

Jonestown residents

Part I:
Shirelle Evans
Laura Johnston
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Mike Prokes
Isaac Rhodes
Larry Schacht (by reference)
Joyce Touchette
Richard Tropp

Bible verses cited: None


(This tape was transcribed by Connor Ashley Clayton, who also contributed to this summary. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)

Most of the tape consists of Jones reading “news” to the Jonestown population on or about July 10, 1978. The last portion of side B consists of a meeting, held presumably later that night or the same day, in which the lessons of the news are reiterated. Jones chooses his sources and information from a wide range of domestic and international events. Notably, the tape begins with a heavily-editorialised version of an article written by Steve Biko entitled “Black Consciousness and the Quest for True Humanity,” featured in the March 1972 edition of Reality: A Journal of Liberal Opinion. Jones reads from the piece, changing references to Biko’s South African situation to fit the narrative of domestic US racial turmoil that Jones constructs. He reads the article almost verbatim, changing details pertaining to South Africa to be about the United States, and inserting additions throughout. (Verbatim excerpts within the reading are noted in green type on the transcript.) Jones also discusses other domestic US developments, such as the publication of the Connecticut Zoning Report of April 1978, labour strikes, inflation, and Proposition 13.

The editorialisation throughout includes Jones’ omnipresent prediction of approaching nuclear war, including a reference to newly-developed neutron bombs, which, as he describes them, “effectively kill every living thing and have the property saved for business interest.”

Other news items are reported for their impacts on black and minority populations. His critique of sunset laws – a popular political movement in the late 1970s to require periodic reauthorization of state agencies – focuses on how such laws reduce services for the poor and repeal provisions initially enacted to offer protection from discriminatory and profit-driven practices by corporations.

The lessons from these news items – their application to Jonestown – are readily apparent, at least to Jim Jones. After cataloguing some of the woes back in the States, Jones reminds his followers that, in addition to living away from that “sick, filthy, Uncle Tom sell-out environment,” he’s bringing in a food supply to last them six months. “Now where in the world could you be more secure than that?” he asks rhetorically.

He reinforces the message as his concluding remarks of the news portion of the tape, in presenting both problem and solution: “Black America, and Jewish America, are finished – Indian America – because there’s no solidarity. That’s why there will be … ethnic weapons, genocide, concentration camps, and the horror of nuclear war… So, my friend, let’s show that we have resolve to be socialist.”

Interspersed throughout the tape, with increasing prominence, Jones chastises those members of his crowd who are seeking “romantic” revolutionary ideals – guerrilla fighting, involvement in liberation movements, etc. – as well as those who may be missing life in the USA, where life has become worse than ever, where “racism has doubled and tripled since you left.” Missing the USA is a sign of weakness, he says, and a breach of loyalty.

Jones attempts to manage these feelings by emphasising that one can’t take part in a global revolution until they can practice everyday socialism by loving their babies and caring for their elders. He demands everyone first to attend a viewing of a movie about Malcolm X, stressing that they will be tested thoroughly, and second to write letters of self-criticism and reflection of their thoughts. Jones says that Dick Tropp, Mike Prokes, and Laura Johnston have provided the most impressive demonstrations of self-criticism thus far.

The principal difference between this tape and scores of news tapes is that Jones speaks in a conversational tone for much of it, as opposed to the stilted monotone of the newscaster. This spills over to his periodic admonitions and supplications to work harder for the project, to appreciate what they have, and to understand their leader (often referring to himself in the third person).

One theme from the first part of the tape is that the people of Jonestown aren’t ready for the larger challenges of fighting for African liberation until they take care of the needs of their own children. It returns on the segment of a Peoples Rally, when Jones chastises an unidentified young male for leaning on a pole with his eyes closed when he should have been working. “If everybody did that,” Jones cries out,  “this fuckin’ movement would be destroyed tomorrow, and babies would be killed and wasted all over this fuckin’ property.”

The tape ends with Jones delivering an impassioned denouncement of racism in the USA, relating to a march of neo-Nazis in Chicago.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/18/79

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 2, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-85. This tape was found to contain the following:

Reverend JIM JONES presents the news and world events to PT members at Jonestown. His night rally at Jonestown with lecturing to PT members.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted May 2022.