Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: None
Date cues on tape: Early spring 1978 (from comments about custody battle)
Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress
Paul Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister
Albert Speer, German architect, Nazi official
Menachem Begin, prime minister of Israel
Francisco Mendez, premier of unknown country
U.S. President Jimmy Carter
U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio)
U.S. Sen. James Abourezk (D-SD)
Joe (could be Earl Luches Joseph Johnson, given age of voice) (speaks)
John (probably John Victor Stoen)
Patty (numerous Patty’s; likely Patricia Cartmell) (speaks)
Bible verses cited: None
The bulk of this tape consists of Jim Jones questioning different people about living conditions at the Jonestown commune and, later, about the news. The tape has numerous edits, some lasting for more than a few seconds. It is impossible to know how long the pauses are, although in some cases, they seem short, in that Jones is on the same subject and his tone of voice is about the same. At other places, the community is discussing a new subject when the tape switches back on. Nevertheless, it seems to be all from one session.
The questions in the beginning seem to anticipate the arrival of outsiders — news media, embassy officials, and/or relatives — as Jones coaches them through their answers, with suggestions on how to reply to the questions he poses. The questions focus mainly on the work day in Jonestown, how long and how hard they work, whether children or seniors work, and whether Jones himself does physical labor. He mentions his miracles in a passing reference, but urges people not to mention those. In answering questions about religion, he says that that is not an important part of life there, that everyone practices their own beliefs. Towards the end of the tape, he asks in a more candid tone, “How many know, from their heart of hearts, that this is far better than anything you’ve seen in the States?”
Jones offers his views on World War II, saying that the US was content to sit back and let Germany fight Russia. It was only when England was about to go down, he says, that the U.S. jumped in. Despite Soviet travails and losses, the USSR prevailed, he adds, and the system that emerged intact — with free health care, low cost housing, free education — “shows the superiority of socialism.”
He also says that acts of violence against civilian populations were perpetuated by the US and its allies, as well as the Germans, but not the Soviets. “They said the Russians rape, but you saw no Russian kicking any citizen. You saw no Russian doing any act of violence,” he says. The fact that Americans believe the worst about the Soviets demonstrates just how brainwashed Americans are.
Jones’ questions on the news center on Rhodesia, China, President Carter’s fight with Congress on deregulation of utilities and capital gains taxes, and a labor dispute in Memphis. He weaves the apocalyptic vision of nuclear war throughout the conversation, mentioning its inevitability five times. Even in the context of the civil service strike in Memphis, he says, whatever the outcome, it “[w]o’t stop nuclear war.”
They also discuss the revolutionary lessons of a movie, Uptight.
Jones interrupts one train of thought to speak about the conspiracy against the Temple and how evil their enemies are. They’ve tried to reach a judge – to persuade him to arrest Jones – but it won’t happen, because they’re friendly with the judge. The digression ends, and Jones changes the subject.
The tape ends with a woman speaking at length about a petty complaint regarding a cup of tea. One frustrated male urges her to organize her thoughts, get to the point, and resolve the issue.
Date of transcription: 6/27/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 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 24, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B60-3. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES instructing members in correct responses to anticipated newsmen questions concerning the settlement.
Then further instruction on the socialist viewpoint on history (Nazi action in World War II), movies, current events.
He advised the members a written test was scheduled on Tuesday concerning tonight’s meeting.
Part of Side A and all of Side B was blank.
Differences with FBI Summary: None
Tape originally posted May 2000