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: Labeled in part “10/8/78, 10/9/78”
Date cues on tape: October 9, 1978 (notation on tape box, specifically confirmed in context)
Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Russian revolution
Mao Tse Tung, Chinese communist leader
Salvador Allende, assassinated president of Chile
Augusto Pinochet, Chilean general who deposed Allende
Patrice Lumumba, assassinated premier of Republic of the Congo
Elias Sarkis, President of Lebanon (by reference)
Hafez al-Assad, President of Syria (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
Moishe Dayan, Israeli Foreign Minister
Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Anastasio Somoza, Nicaraguan President
Forbes Burnham, Guyanese Prime Minister
U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale
U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed on charges of espionage
Moisei Markov, Soviet nuclear scientist
Dr. Nikolai, Soviet doctor who visited Jonestown
San Francisco Mayor George Moscone
Victor Jara, singer
Henry (several in Jonestown, probably Mercer)
Mom Jackson (numerous elderly women in Jonestown named Jackson)
Thomas Charles Beikman
Laurence Schacht (speaks)
Harriet Sarah Tropp
Teena [Bogue] Turner
Bible verses cited: None
This tape consists of a series of announcements and reading of the news by Jim Jones, followed by an impassioned plea about everything Jones has done for the people of Jonestown — including the miracles that has saved the lives of many of them — spoken by the community’s doctor, Larry Schacht. Only one section of the tape mentions a specific date — October 9, 1978, or about six weeks before the deaths in Jonestown — but the news items and the general tone of frustration and desperation throughout the whole tape suggests that all the segments may have been recorded on the same day, and that the breaks represent nothing more than lengthy edits.
The tape begins with Jim Jones issuing instructions to the community. He reminds supervisors that they are responsible for how the people in their departments act towards guests to Jonestown. He tells everyone that, just because one person doesn’t act like a socialist, that doesn’t give anyone an excuse to shirk his or her own duties. “If there was only one socialist here, that ought to be you. It’s your responsibility.” He also repeats his admonition that it is the socialist way to accept criticisms, because your worst enemy will give you the best criticism on how you can improve, no matter how imperfect your enemy might be. “You take what they got to say, because always they’ll have something to offer you… Quit looking for the lowest around here to judge yourself by. Look to the highest.”
The section following the instructions is a reading of the news, reported and read through a socialist perspective. News items include:
- • The neutron bomb (including opposition to it) and disarmament issues;
• U.N. consideration of strategic offensive weapons;
• The Camp David peace accords, and other news from the Middle East;
• Rhodesia and South Africa;
• The conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam;
• Flooding in South Asia;
• Tension in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua, followed by a Guyanese perspective on its neighboring countries;
• Chinese copper sales to Chile (which Jones refers to as “another blunder of China’s foreign policy, supporting fascist regimes”);
• A Soviet spy trial;
• Saving the whales;
• Brutality of the Memphis police.
Jones adds his own editorial comments throughout the reading, and he often finds a way to turn an item of international news into an object lesson for the people of Jonestown. In speaking of how the U.S. reneged on its commitment to black majority rule in Rhodesia, he adds, “but the words of the USA means nothing. I don’t understand how any of you could consider to want to go back to that vomit.” Expanding upon that, he declares that they all would be murderers if they went back, by virtue of the fact that they assist U.S. murderers when they buy anything and pay American taxes. “You should feel ashamed of yourself, if you feel no guilt this morning,” he concludes the item. “That’s my opinion.”
He ends the news reading with an exhortation for everyone to work harder, and to try to increase productivity by 20% in a ten-hour shift. “You can do it,” he says. “If you do that, then that will reduce your hours per day.”
The next section follows a visit from a Soviet delegation, which included a lawyer, a doctor, and an engineer. Jones lauds the Soviet medical technology as being superior to that in the U.S., especially since the Soviets have found a way to revive the dead. That’s good news for everyone, including Jim Jones. If he finds he can’t revive someone, it will be okay, he says, because the doctor will be able to do it. He uses the occasion of the Soviets’ visit to remind everyone to be friendly to each other and to smile.
The second half of the tape, and the entirety of the last section, consists of Larry Schacht, the Jonestown doctor, “remind[ing] you of some of the miracles that have occurred here in Jonestown, some of the miracles that Dad’s performed.” He then lists 30 people by name who have been healed through Jones’ interventions, and how Schacht has been astounded by the healings. But, he adds, the healings come with a cost. Jones takes the pain into his own body, Schacht says, and it drains his resources. He needs rest, but he cannot get any. For that reason, Schacht says, people need to leave him alone, and spare him the petty grievances and minor complaints.
Schacht describes a variety of miracles, ranging from healing an injury to curing a disease, to making a diagnostic of a condition that required medical treatment. The doctor refers to several occasions on which Jones described what was wrong with someone, and then sent the patient to Georgetown for surgery or other medical procedures. Sometimes the medical emergency was severe enough that Jones ordered the evacuation of the patient via airplane to Georgetown, which of course comes as a great financial cost to the community.
Some of the miracles are quieter, Schacht continues. Jones heals people without telling anyone he’s doing it. He just does it, without calling people out.
As a result of these miracles, Schacht says, everyone should “be careful about thinking about anything else than Dad’s power and the protection he’s given us by being here.”
Not everyone has been saved by “Dad’s” healing powers, and there have been a few deaths in Jonestown. These were people who called out on Jesus to save them, rather than calling out to Jim Jones. Others who have been “lying deathly ill” have wanted to go back to the Babylon of the USA, even though they have to know “they would be thrown in prison, the concentration camps, and tortured.”
Finally, on a more traditional note, Schacht reminds people of the preventive medical care and maintenance they receive in Jonestown. People get regular check-ups to monitor their blood pressure, for example, so if something starts to go wrong, they’ll catch it early enough for remedy and correction. And, Schacht adds, Jones provides the medications — at great expense — to take care of these chronic conditions.
Date of transcription: 6/7/79
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 25, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B69-8. This tape was found to contain the following:
Talk covering numerous miscellaneous topics by JIM JONES such as cloud seeding, instructions to Socialism and Monday News broadcast re news topics such as the Neutron bomb, world peace, sale of copper to China from Chile, and U.S. spy trial of two Soviet United Nations employees.
Broadcast by unidentified male individual re miracles performed by JIM JONES.
Readings of letters to DAD from individuals by JIM JONES.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes, with one difference: The last entry to the FBI’s description of this tapes — reading of letters from “Dad” — does not appear anywhere on the tape.
Tape originally posted February 2003