Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Tapes not summarized
FBI preliminary tape identification note Labeled in part “5-10-11-78 8R3” and “5-11-” with sides marked “3” and “4”
Date cues on tape: May 1978 (Jones speaks of “Methodist officials” in Jonestown who are “very impressed”; John Moore, a Methodist minister, traveled with his wife Barbara to visit their daughters Carolyn Layton and Ann Moore during that month. They pronounced themselves “very impressed” with the project.)
Debbie (Layton) Blakey
John and Barbara Moore (by reference)
Ellie (same as Eleanor?)
Mary Lee (may be Mary Lou) (prominent)
Kenya Henderson (infant) (by reference)
Bible verses cited:
“The truth does indeed set you free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
“Remember the teachings of Jesus Christ about turning the other cheek.” (Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.)
“One cannot overcome the consciousness of Jesus Christ that precious love cast out all fear.” (1John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”)
This tape consists of ham radio traffic going back and forth between Jonestown and Peoples Temple members in other locations, probably in San Francisco. There is much distortion in the tape, due to edits made by the recorder, the competing radio voices, and the fact that it was apparently recorded off the air by a third person who rarely speaks and who never identifies himself. The FBI summary includes a marginal note that the tape was supplied to the agency by an unnamed source, whom the FBI describes as “confidential.” The only clear voice, then, is probably that of the unnamed confidential source.
On the intelligible portions of the tape — probably about two-thirds of its length — much of it is concerned with questions from family members going back and forth: did someone receive a package? did someone receive a letter? did the pictures arrive? Although some former members have said the messages going back and forth were coded, these portions of the tape seem to be what they purport to be. When one man asks the woman in the States what is in the package coming down to him, she answers almost playfully that she does know, because she opened it, and there’s underwear and sandals.
Still, there are significant portions that seem to have been transmitted with the idea of disguising identities or messages from casual eavesdroppers or the government agents whom Jonestown residents (correctly) surmised were listening in. Most speakers are unidentifiable, but Jim Jones does transmit for a while, during which he talks about “Rachel” and “Mr. Dexter.” These and other names are unfamiliar. In addition, the people on the radio are hesitant when they use an unfamiliar name — as if they’re referring to a list? taking notes? trying to understand the code? — and some of the acknowledgments are tentative. In these cases, it does seem they were transmitting in code, and much information is being transferred via these codes or couriers.
Jones spends some time during an “inspirational program” describing the beauty of Jonestown, a beauty that can’t be captured on film, praising the health of the people who have gone down there, extolling the birth of a premature baby in Jonestown. He says he looks forward to the arrival of more people from the States.
Even though Jones says he will have “no more to say on the subject,” much of his conversation centers on Temple opponents, and the harassment they have caused the people of Jonestown. “People are coming in, new families moved in tonight, and … all our people want to do is to keep out of the critical word that’s controversy, and build an agricultural project… I’ve found no more goodness and no more caring or sharing community than this one. And that’s all the people want to do, is to continue to care and share.”
The Temple’s opponents should have no illusions about the effects of their harassment, Jones says. “They know what they’re doing. They know exactly what they’re doing. But it won’t succeed. Rationalizing away guilt never works.”
Despite the trouble, Jones admonishes his followers on the radio, people should be cool and not over-zealous, and turn the other cheek, because their opponents will never prevail. “They cannot possibly win with people who have nothing at all to lose.”
Jones is particularly critical of Tim Stoen, who he says is on a vendetta. Later, he says Stoen will become his own nemesis. More than once, he says Stoen needs a psychiatrist. “I thought perhaps for a moment … that maybe, he was being manipulated, but [now] I think he very sickly knows what he’s doing.”
Date of transcription: 1/14/80
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 of radio transmissions on amateur radio frequencies was furnished to the FBI by (name deleted).
(A marginal note indicates the words were deleted under Freedom of Information Act exemption b7d, “investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes … [and which] disclose the identity of a confidential source…”)
On March 6, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B46 #20. This tape was found to contain the following:
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:
There is nothing to compare the two summaries, since the FBI did not write anything for this, or 64 other tapes which bear the notation “Tapes Not Summarized.” These tapes seems to have little on them which the FBI could use for its purposes of investigating crimes arising from the Jonestown tragedy, but then again, that describes many other tapes as well. The difference seems to be that one or two FBI agents catalogued this set of tapes — as evidenced by the typewriter used in writing the reports — and that generally, the transcriptions were made early in the process, before someone may have asked for greater detail in the reports. With that said, however, this FBI summary has a later transcription date than most others.
Tape originally posted July 2001