Q385 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).
To return to the Tape Index, click here.

FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: (None)

Date cues on tape: Shortly after May 3, 1978 (date of Guinness suicide)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

Part 1
Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain
Aldo Moro, former prime minister of Italy
Kwame Nkrumah, former president of Ghana
Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, military head of state of Ghana
Fred Akuffo, successor to Acheampong
Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader, practitioner of non-violence
Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India
Sanjay Gandhi, son of India Gandhi
Yeshwant Vichnu Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India Supreme Court
Leopold Senghor, president of Senegal
Kim Il-Sung, President of North Korea
Che Guevara, Latin American Revolutionary
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana
George King, Guyana Minister of Trade
Cheddi Jagan, leader of People’s Progressive Party, Guyana opposition party
Walter Rodney, political activist in Guyana
Mohammed Shahabadeen, Guyana attorney general
James Mentore, intelligence chief of Guyana police
Henrietta Guinness, heiress who committed suicide
Patrick Guinness, cousin of Henrietta Guinness
Tara Brown, cousin of Henrietta Guinness
Henry Jordan, author of Eating Is Okay
Richard McCoy, former U.S. Embassy Consul
Richard Dwyer, U.S. Embassy Consul [by reference]
Vivian Davis, sympathetic relative

Part 2
Adolf Hitler, German Führer

Part 3
Jimmy Carter, president of US
Rep. Clarence Long (D-MD)
Rep. Paul Rogers (D-FL)
George Latimer, mayor of St. Paul
Griffin Bell, Attorney General

Vladimir Lenin, father of Russian Revolution
Mao Tse-Tung
Jiang Qing, wife of Mao Tse-Tung
Huang Hua, Foreign Minister of China
Ferdinand Marcos, president of Philippines
Imelda Marcos, wife of Ferdinand Marcos
Valerian Mikhailov, Soviet Ambassador to Philippines
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba

Daniel Ford, Executive Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists
Louise Dunlap, Environmental Policy Center
Anita Bryant, anti-gay activist
Richard Angwin, leader of Citizens Alert for Morality
Greg Anderson, spokesperson for Minneapolis Citizens for Human Rights
Frank W. Snepp III, author of Decent Interval
David Schaeffer, Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Institute

Judy Dolan, psychiatric nurse, San Francisco General Hospital
Boyd Stephens, San Francisco chief coroner
Dr. Martin Glasser, chief psychiatrist, San Francisco General Hospital
Bill Cunningham, San Francisco social worker
Hazel Levitt, San Francisco suicide prevention center consultant

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:

Part 2
Suzanne Jones Cartmell
Wade Medlock
Tim Stoen

Temple members not in Guyana:

Part 2
Claire [could be Janaro]

Jonestown residents:

Part 1
Rosie Lee Burgines
Johnny Jones
Part 3
John Harris
Marceline Jones [by reference]
Terry Carter Jones
Richard Tropp

Bible verses cited: None


This tape recorded by Jim Jones in early May comprises three separate segments, all likely recorded the same day, but all different from one another in tone and substance.

Part one is a reading of several articles from Guyanese sources. The first extended reading is from Liberation, a publication of what Jones describes as an anarchist group, “radical left,” and outside the mainstream of the country’s three recognized political parties. He says he’s reading it to give the community a complete scope of the news, but he inserts a number of disparaging comments along the way (“That’s a lie… I doubt this very much. I don’t believe this either”).

Jones also reads a speech given by Deputy Prime Minister – and Temple ally – Ptolemy Reid, calling for approval of a constitutional amendment that would give the governing political party expanded powers. (It later passed.) Throughout the first section, Jones lauds his political patrons in the Peoples National Congress, recognizing the Temple’s own need to stay in the party’s good graces, and reports on their promises to deal with the threats of a mercenary force that have plagued Jonestown. “Our position will be secure,” he promises.

Along the way, Jones offers a sidebar trumpeting the news that a demonstration organized by the Concerned Relatives was met with counter-protesters from the Temple, with Temple forces mounting a four-to-one advantage.

Other news items in this section:

  • Elections are held in Senegal;
  • Metallurgical workers go on strike in Spain, unemployed march in Madrid;
  • Portuguese communist party denounces Eurocommunism;
  • Government in Ghana faces protests over military rule;
  • Son of Indian prime minister arrested for witness tampering;
  • North Korea welcomes Forbes Burnham on a state visit;
  • The tragedies of the Guinness brewery family continue.

The second section of the tape finds Jones in an angry mood, as he lambasts those who criticize him or write lengthy letters of complaint or otherwise denigrate Jonestown.

He begins by requesting that his followers get in touch with their relatives back home, to counter what their antagonists in Concerned Relatives are saying, to point out the hypocrisy of their movement, and to point out specifically that their leader, Tim Stoen, has talked about mercenaries and bombs to get his way.

There are deficiencies on Jonestown, Jones knows, but within a few months, things will be much better. They will have sufficient housing for all residents – even enough for guest housing – as well as a resort and place of entertainment. This is beyond what they already have, he reminds them, beautiful surroundings, good food, and a healthy environment.

At that point, he addresses the hostility he perceives at evening Peoples Rallies. The meetings are important for their own education, to help them on their paths to true communism. And it’s not everyone. “Some of you come with beautiful intelligent answers to so many things, creative things, but you think emotionally. There is no room for emotion.”

The hostility extends to the children, because they are mirroring the adults, and they can see their parents’ emotions on their faces.

Jones says he can’t understand this. “I don’t really know what I mean to you. You say, you’re grateful when I save your loved ones from death… And you who have received so much, should work on gratitude, and not behave emotionally. … You behave emotionally. Totally, incessantly and insanely emotionally.”

He also says he knows how some folks will reply, that they are being honest with him, just as he has encouraged them to be. “I don’t give a fuck about your honesty,” he replies. “I love you, I would be tortured for you, … I’d die for you, but any more of your goddamn writing, fuck you now and fuck you eternally.”

The sentiments last throughout the section, and end on a similar note: “you’ve got the nerve, the goddamn nerve to bother me with your fucking resentments about setting in a meeting. Well, I say, fuck you. Thank you.”

The third section is much calmer, much more in keeping with a reading of the news. It is notable mainly in that he uses much less of the editorial characterizations that fill many these sessions. He describes the US as imperialist only once, and does not use the word lackey to describe American allies; neither are the Soviet Union and Cuba held up as vanguards of liberation. Even his fixation with nuclear war is reduced to a single mention. This more modest approach does not affect his many diatribes against capitalism, however.

One recurring refrain is the need for pragmatism, which he says Communists understand. “And we have to understand pragmatism, that the end does justify the means,” he says of the Chinese, and later, of Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro, “the ends justify the means.”

The lengthiest feature Jones reads here is that about the rise in child suicide in the US. It relates to several messages he wants to reinforce to his community. First is to contrast life in the States to that in Jonestown: “there’s not enough treatment programs and counseling programs for the suicidal, our children are leading healthy, productive lives, producing with joy, perspective and goals in kind.” As with so many other problems in American life, though, the root of the problem is capitalism and its negative consequences. The second lesson is about the deaths themselves: “selfish suicide always leads one to come back… there’s only one way that one can give their life, and that’s in a revolutionary effort.”

Among other news items in this section:

  • Philippines president is ill, wife hints moving into Soviet orbit;
  • Soviets offer to build Philippine nuclear power plant;
  • Minneapolis becomes latest city to vote against gay rights;
  • Environmentalists criticize Carter for abandoning campaign promises;
  • Pentagon reports thousands of veterans of atomic tests swamp hotline;
  • Ex-CIA agent faces lawsuit over book publication;
  • Talks on Namibia to begin soon;
  • World Council of Churches praises Peoples Temple.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/22/79

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 June 4, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-116. This tape was found to contain the following:

A recording by JIM JONES on current events and some popular music.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted June 2023.