Q187 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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FBI Catalogue: Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “Oct. 12 News”

Date cues on tape:     News items consistent with tape box label

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Marcus Garvey, black nationalist (by reference)
Louis K. Farrakhan, leader of Nation of Islam
Malcolm X
Elijah Muhammad, leader of Nation of Islam
Wallace Muhammad, leader of Nation of Islam, son of Elijah
Earl Ofari, author of The Myth of Black Capitalism

President Jimmy Carter
Andrew Young, US Ambassador to UN
UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim

Romeo Lucas Garcia, President of Guatemala (by reference)
Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua

British Prime Minister James Callaghan
British Foreign Secretary David Owen
German Democratic Republic Foreign Minister, Austin Fischer
Hungary Deputy Foreign Minister (name unknown)
Enrico Berlinguer, leader of Italian Communist Party
Adolf Hitler
West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (by reference)
Yugoslavia President Josip Broz Tito

Egypt’s acting Foreign Minister (name unknown)
King Hussein of Jordan
Hafez al-Assad, President of Syria (by reference)
Elias Sarkis, President of Lebanon (by reference)
Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister
South African Prime Minister B.J. Vorster (misidentified)

Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua
Foreign Minister of Mongolia (name unknown)

Dr. Vernon Smith, urologist
Dr. William C. Thomas Jr,, urologist

California Lieutenant Governor Dymally
George Moscone, San Francisco Mayor

Fred Furth, Temple attorney
Charles Garry, Temple attorney
Mark Lane, Temple attorney
Huey Newton, Black Panther Party leader

Temple members:
Hue Fortson
Andy Silver

Jonestown residents:
Geraldine Bailey
Jann Gurvich

Bible verses cited:      None


(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)

Jim Jones reads the news of 12 October 1978. Among the stories he spends some time with:

• President Carter opens peace talks with Egypt and Israel
• King Hussein of Jordan calls for Arab sovereignty over East Jerusalem
• Ceasefire between Lebanon and Syria
• Rhodesian prime minister calls for conference on settlement plan
• South Africa discusses Namibian independence
• General strike in Guatemala
• Eastern bloc nations speak at UN-sponsored council on apartheid
• Neutron weapons criticized at UN general assembly
• US charged with responsibility for Nicaraguan dictatorship
• Libyan economic delegation visits USSR
• Italian Red Brigade assassinates investigators
• US dollar on decline
• Chicago woman must give birth in jail
• Huey Newton acquitted of assault
• US reactionary politics, evidenced in polls about gays and the death penalty

As with most of these newscasts, Jones relies upon Soviet, Eastern Bloc and Third World news sources, most of which are predisposed to presenting American interests in an unfavorable light. Reinforcing this slant, Jones adds some of his own editorial comments, most them in a casual, offhand manner. After quoting Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith as telling the National Press Club in Washington that the black liberation movements are not interested in a conference to discuss issues, Jones says, “This is a lie, of course, but Washington is good at carrying out lies on Voice of America.” Disparaging South Africa’s sincerity in discussing the issue of Namibia’s independence, Jones adds, “The joke, that is. There is no intention of South Africa to give independence to Namibia.” After reading the headline about the general strike in Guatemala, Jones declares, “Another one of USA’s dictatorships is about to totter and fall.”

On several occasions, however, Jones makes larger connections between a news story and a concern or lesson in Jonestown.  After presenting the details of the Guatemalan police response to the strike and the number of demonstrators who were wounded, Jones  lauds the commitment and sacrifice which the protestors are willing to make. “That’s the kind of courage that human beings of any worth are made of, and that’s what a socialist should be. Fearless. Fearless of death or anything in life.”

The news summary includes two longer pieces. The tape opens with an analysis of the Nation of Islam and its “rightward drift” in recent years. The analysis includes a short history of the group, focuses on Malcolm X’s participation – and defection – and considers its relationship with the Black Panther Party. Given the critical tone of the piece which Jones reads, it is unclear whether the periodic descriptions of “sell-out” or “neo-fascist” come from him or from the article.

Near the end of the 40-minute tape, Jones reads some health news about ways to avoid kidney stones. It is apparently his first reading of the article – he expresses surprise about some of what he himself is saying – but he does seize the opportunities it presents. When the article recommends eating less meat, Jones says, “Here again, we find another medical release that meat is not good for our health.” Even before Peoples Temple migrated to Guyana, Jones spoke about the benefits of a diet less in meat, so this would appear to be a genuine belief he holds rather than a response to criticisms – both internal and external to Jonestown – about the lack of meat in the community’s menus.

The newscast includes periodic announcements, expressions of Jones’ love for the community, and warnings about people who try to get away from Jonestown. “Some who run from this place and are caught, and come back diseased as the last two have. The young man is burning with temperature now.”

Jones signs off on several occasions, only to return to the microphone with more announcements or additional news items. The tape ends with Jones offering the community his reason for wanting to ease out longtime Temple attorney Charles Garry and bringing in “world-renowned author, lecturer, lawyer … Doctor Mark Lane.” As Jones explains it, he told Garry to put two publications – New West and National Enquirer – on notice about “print[ing] any lies about us,” but Garry refused to do so. When Jones asked Lane, though, “he was humble enough to do what I told him to do, and both periodicals are kissing our rear right now… That shows you the difference of people who will listen.”

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/8/79

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 28, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B69-13. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES reading a political and historical analysis of the Nation of Islam (NOI), Malcom [Malcolm] X, Black Panther Party (BPP) and Student Non‑Violent Coordinating Committee (SNEC) [SNCC] followed by the Radio Moscow and Radio Havanna [Havana] News, Diet tips, announcements and work schedule and an announcement that National Enquirer and New West Magazines would not print articles on People’s Temple.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted March 2008