Q378 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 “Yugoslavia”

Date cues on tape: July 17, 1978 (specified)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. Senator
Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Zbigniew Brzezinski, advisor to Jimmy Carter

Adolf Hitler, German Führer
Josef Stalin, former Soviet dictator
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Fyodor Kulakov, potential successor to Brezhnev
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian dissident
Natan Sharansky, convicted Soviet spy
Rose Peterson, U.S. consul to USSR
Margaret Thatcher, leader of Conservative Party in Great Britain
Francisco Franco, former dictator of Spain
Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia
Spyros Kyprianou, President of Cyprus
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Muhammad Ibrahim Kamel, foreign minister of Egypt [by reference]
Moise Dayan, foreign minister of Israel [by reference]
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
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
Nelson Mandela, jailed South African activist
Mobuto Sese Seko, president of Zaire
Kenneth David Kaunda, president of Zambia
Cecil Rhodes, English colonialist
David Livingstone, Scottish explorer
Henry Morton Stanley, reporter who tracked down Livingstone

Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana
Fred Wills, Guyana Foreign Minister
Mary Rodgers, Guyana official
Commander Lee, Guyana National Service [by reference]

George Orwell, author of 1984
Mike Davidow, American author
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, executed U.S. spies
George Meany, labor leader, head of AFL-CIO
Margaret Mead, anthropologist
Rockefeller family, American family of great wealth
James Powell, black youth killed in Harlem in 1964
Martin Luther King, assassinated civil rights worker
Malcolm X, assassinated civil rights worker
Medgar Evers, assassinated civil rights worker
Wallace Deen Muhammad, leader of Nation of Islam

James Thurman Jones, Jim Jones’ father

Temple adversaries:

Debbie Layton

Jonestown residents:

Vernetta Christian
Teresa King [by reference]

Bible verses cited: None


Jim Jones reads the news for July 17, 1978.

While intended principally as a news tape – including several items that Jones says the community will be responsible for in testing – there are several extended commentaries along the way. Two of them comprise parts of his readings on the countries of the world – their location and geography, population and demographics, and history – when he covers Zambia and Yugoslavia.

Other places seem more spontaneous. Understanding that every political system is flawed – not even the Soviet Union is perfect – Jones says that we have to choose between the dictatorship of fascism and corporate monopolies, and the dictatorship of communism.  He prefers the latter, casting his own lot with communism. In a lengthy aside, he expresses the wish that

There could be progressive leaders like Jim Jones, who will not allow power to do anything but be used for the people, that he is nothing more than a representative of the people, open to criticism … wants to give them the best life and knows that he does not have all the answers, but is the most pure, dedicated leader that he’s ever seen.… I know my side, my negative side has been subdued, it’ll never emerge, I’ll never be insensitive, I’d put my life secondary to any of you here, even some who’ve been cruel and insensitive and don’t care, and you’d kill me if you had an opportunity.

Following this diversion, he returns to the subject at hand, focusing on how the US uses cruelty and intimidation and even assassination to prevail its iron grip, even over its own citizens. The roster includes black leaders, but also white student protestors at Kent State University. “They murder white and black, they don’t give a damn. The ruling class eliminates, and what’s painful, is that they had to kill so few to stifle liberty in USA.”

A second discussion about the world’s reaction to Soviet treatment of its dissidents, including Congress’ over-reaction of suspending nuclear disarmament talks while Soviet protestors are sent to mental asylums or labor camps. (Jones’ own opinion is that being sent to mental institutes is more benign: “it is preferable than being put into the horrible prison conditions of USA, where a prison cell is overcrowded 15 to one.”) This leads to a broader discussion of international communism in general, Eurocommunism in particular, and most disdainfully, revisionism.

The reading ends, as many do from this period, with praise for Guyana and their place in it. The people of Jonestown should be happy, not only because they have escaped the racism and poverty of America, but because they have gone to the scenic wonders and pure nature of the jungle. In addition, as others have pointed out, here they’ll escape the nuclear war, which is an inevitability.

This is a recurring theme in Jones’ news tapes, especially during his asides, and reflects his life-long focus on nuclear holocaust, and appears several times here. So too does other disparaging language of the country from which they emigrated – the US is invariably described as racist, militaristic, and capitalistic, while its allies are invariably fascist lackeys of the imperialist superpower. The Soviet Union and Cuba, on the other hand, represent the vanguard of liberation, especially in black Africa, and even China, which has a “horrid foreign policy,” at least offers financial supports to those moves for independence.

Among the items in the news:

  • Guyana Prime Minister Burnham reminds his countrymen in Britain that all is not well there, especially if Margaret Thatcher wins the election;
  • The passage of the referendum in Guyana allows the government to consolidate power for benevolent purposes, such as giving it greater leeway to remove bureaucrats who steal;
  • Guyana has been able to resist the International Monetary Fund and its accompanying strings and manipulative behaviors;
  • An economic summit of capitalist states will discuss Japan’s protectionism;
  • The Organization of African Unity endorses Cuban liberation efforts on the continent;
  • The present of Cyprus withdraws from peace talks with Turkey, which itself is beset by intern al strife;
  • Egypt will not agree to Israeli demands on the Gaza Strip;
  • A former US consul to the Soviet union may have been engaged in spying;
  • The likely successor to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev unexpectedly dies.

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 4, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-109. This tape was found to contain the following:

A recording of the “News of the Day” by JIM JONES.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted June 2023.