Q283 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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Listen to MP3 (Part 1, Side 1Part 1, Side 2Part 2).

FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “19 Aug News Sat”

Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with identification note

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

Jimmy Carter, U.S. president
Richard Nixon, U.S. president
Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. president
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. president
Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. Senator
Former Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey
Sen. John Stennis (D-MS)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
Rep. Louis Stokes (D-OH)
Dennis Kucinich, mayor of Cleveland
J. Wyeth Chandler, mayor of Memphis
John Connally, Texas governor

Adolf Hitler, German Führer
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Alexei Kosygin, Premier of the Soviet Union
Josef Stalin, former Soviet dictator
Lord David Owen, British Foreign Minister
Margaret Thatcher, leader of Conservative Party in Great Britain
Agostinho Neto, President of Angola
Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Bishop Abel Muzorewa, leader of Zimbabwe independence
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Johannes Vorster, prime minister of Republic of South Africa
Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Muhammad Ibrahim Kamel, Egypt Minister of Foreign Affairs [by reference]
Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Mohammad Mosaddegh, president of Iran [by reference]
Hua Kuo-fenj, chairman of Chinese Communist Party
Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam
Pham Van Dong, premier of Vietnam [by reference]

Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister
Vincent Teekah, Guyana Minister of Education
Mary Rodgers, Guyanese official

Harriet Tubman, black activist, organized underground railroad
Ben Chavis, black leader, member of Wilmington 10
John Harris, arrested civil rights activist
Malcolm X, assassinated civil rights activist
Martin Luther King, assassinated civil rights activist
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King
Wayne Chastain, Memphis Scimitar reporter on King assassination [by reference]
Grace Walden, witness to King assassination
Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of Pres. John F. Kennedy
Marina Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife [by reference]
Jack Ruby, assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald

William Westmoreland, U.S. Army general in Vietnam
Curtis LeMay, Air Force General misquoted by Jones
Muhammad Ali, prizefighter
Veronica Porché Ali, wife of Muhammed Ali
Charles Manson, leader of criminal gang
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, executed U.S. spies
David Greenglass, brother of Ethel Rosenberg
Alger Hiss, Accused spy for the Soviet Union
Howard Jarvis, co-author of Proposition 13
Paul Gann, co-author of Proposition 13
Howard Hughes, eccentric American billionaire
George Orwell, author of 1984

Joseph Freitas, S.F. District Attorney [by reference]
Charles Garry, S.F. attorney
Don Freed, author and screenwriter
Mark Lane, author and lawyer
Richard Hongisto, former S.F. sheriff
Huey Newton, leader of Black Panther Party
Unita May Blackwell Wright, mayor of Fayetteville, MS
Thomas Dawsey, Air Force officer caught spying on Mayor Wright [by reference]
Leon Joly, Air Force officer caught spying on Mayor Wright [by reference]

Jonestown residents:

David Betts ”Pop” Jackson
Luvenia ”Mom” Jackson
Marceline Jones
Stephan Jones
Cleave Swinney
Tim Swinney

Bible verses cited: None


Jim Jones reads news and issues instructions to the Jonestown community for August 19, 1978.

While principally a news tape, there is a context which differentiates this from most such readings: American author Donald Freed, and soon-to-be Temple attorney Mark Lane are due to arrive at almost any minute. This means that much of the news revolves around the greater interests of the two guests, not only the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and of Martin Luther King, but the conspiracies in their deaths which involve the highest levels of government and corporate players. Jones also gives a synopsis of Executive Action, a conspiracy thriller based on the JFK assassination, for which both Freed and Lane wrote the screenplay.

In anticipation of the imminent arrival, he calls upon people to set up “Displays, displays, displays, displays. Who’s responsible for displays? Bricks and soap, all those things, bricks and soap… Some of the teachers, get your stuff here together.”

The tape does seem to have a greater number of exhortations for people to feel grateful about where they are. This may be due in part to the fact that Jones wants to show the important guests a bright, shining community; it may be due in part to the fact that, in general, the exhortations increased during Jonestown’s final months; it may be due in part that this is a longer newstape than most, and Jones finds more opportunities to speak. Whatever the reason, there are several examples:

  • Commenting upon a report of problems with drinking water in Georgetown, Jones says that the water in Jonestown is good and fresh, coming from mineral springs on the property. “I like its taste, myself. Some of you wouldn’t like anything, you couldn’t make them happy in any way possible. If you were to give them all the gold on the world, and give them St. Peter’s Gate, they still would be complaining.”
  • Jones compares the community to a summer camp, the type of retreat many americans try to get to, to escape big city life. “How much beauty we have,” he adds, “but we’re always kicking… Everybody would love this. This is like being in … a nature outing all year long, and some people gripe all the time.”
  • Following a report about education in the Soviet Union, how mothers are glad their children can live communally, where they can study and play, Jones comments, “Some people here will gripe because their child is in communal care just a little while.”

Jones doesn’t understand the lack of gratitude, and tries to remind the people how much he’s done for them. He takes on their pain so that they might live in comfort, even of those who do not care about him. “It certainly [is] much more act of courage for me to go on living and producing. That is what you need.” He is their savior, he observes, more even “than Jesus Christ, who’s supposed to have done something by dying on a cross. No one can help another person’s pain by dying on a cross.”

As for those who don’t recognize any of this and who try to escape through Venezuela, he reminds them of the difficulties they would encounter. Caracas is a thousand miles away, he says, and it’s hard to get there. The people they would meet along the way are not friendly as the Guyanese are, and would kill them. “It’s safe for us here,” he concludes.

As for its news content, the tape is reflective of others from the period. While he periodically cites Voice of America and BBC as news sources, he more often quotes Radio Peking and Radio Moscow. The language in the items from these socialist and communist sources finds its way into – or at least influences – his own. The US is always racist, fascistic, and corrupt, driven by monopoly capitalist or imperialist forces; its allies are lackeys who use US foreign aid to crush liberation struggles throughout the world, and who place their political opponents into concentration camps. The Communist superpowers of the USSR and (to some degree) China are the opposite.

The specter – the inevitability – of nuclear war also undergirds several news items, characterizing Jones’ worldview for much of his life.

In part because of the visitors’ work on the conspiracies surrounding the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and of Martin Luther King, Jones spends much of the news discussing recent testimony in hearings held by the House committee on assassinations, including the false testimony which convicted James Earl Ray.

Among other items covered in the reading:

  • The combatants in the war for Zimbabwean independence may agree to talks;
  • Zambia kicks out all foreigners;
  • China is financing liberation efforts in Africa;
  • American multinationals sending in weapons to Africa through CIA, which does not have accountability;
  • Palestinian groups agree to meet in response to Israeli attacks;
  • Egypt will not accept a partial solution to problems in the Mideast;
  • The Shah of Iran celebrates 25 years in power, but cites are under martial law;
  • Ethnic Chinese wish to return to Vietnam, but Vietnam is leery;
  • Bombs rocks British night clubs;
  • US speaks out against human rights abuses in the Soviet Union;
  • President Carter pressures his home church in Georgia to admit blacks;
  • The US can’t send a delegation to the UN conference on racism because of what it would have to acknowledge from its past;
  • A Florida couple collects damages from doctor who destroyed test tube baby;
  • The recall efforts of Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich is unsuccessful;
  • Memphis police and firefighter unions may end strike;
  • The authors of California Proposition 13 go nationwide;
  • A prostitution ring exploiting Chinese women in San Francisco is broken;
  • Guyana’s education minister says teachers need to be grounded in socialist principles;
  • An international trade union conference is being held in Guyana;
  • Fears of negative impacts of the recent referendum in Guyana turn out to be baseless.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/13/79

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 31, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-29. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES reading news, commentary, and announcements.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted June 2023.