Q209 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. 1, Pt. 2).
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FBI Catalogue           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “Aug 30 News”

Date cues on tape:     News items consistent with date on tape identification note

People named:
Public figures/National and international names:

President Jimmy Carter
Former President Richard Nixon
Former President Gerald Ford
Former President Dwight Eisenhower
Former President John KennedyJody Powell, press secretary to Jimmy Carter
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State

Vice President Walter Mondale
Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA)
Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. George McGovern (D-SD)
Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH)
Rep. Larry McDonald (R-GA)
Rep. David Obey (D-WI)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

Jerry Brown, governor of California
Sen. John Briggs, Calif. State senator

David Owen, Foreign Minister of Great Britain
Alfredo Nobre da Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal
António de Oliveira Salazar, former Prime Minister of Portugal
Giulio Andreotti, Prime Minister of Italy (by reference)
Marshall Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia
Adolf Hitler
Pope John Paul II

Menachem Begin, Israeli prime minister
Anwar Sadat, Egyptian president
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi
Felix Malloum, President of Chad
Hissène Habré, Prime Minister of Chad
Hussein Audrey (phonetic), deputy prime minister of Chad
Moammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya
Jomo Kenyatta, president of Kenya

Hua Kuo-fenj, chairman of Chinese Communist Party
Park Chung Hee, President of South Korea
Chiang Kai-Shek, leader of Taiwan

Nicaragua President Anastasio Somoza Garcia (by reference)
Nicaragua President Luis Somoza Debayle (by reference)
Nicaragua President Anastasio Somoza Debayle

Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister
Viola Burnham, wife of Forbes Burnham
Arthur Chung, president of Guyana (by reference)
Cheddi Jagan, leader of Guyana opposition party
Herbie Harper, brother of Viola Burnham
Leonard Duvant, Guyanese regional minister
Steve Narine, Guyana newspaper reporter

David Frost, British TV talk show host
Pearl Henry, BBC commentator
Tongsun Park, Korean businessman involved in scandal
Alfred Nobel, father of Nobel Peace Prize (by reference)

Lizzie Borden, alleged axe murderess
Tom Braden, political commentator
Pat Buchanan, political commentator
Henry Fleming, Korean War POW
George Gibson, Memphis man injured in tornado
John Joseph Cardinal Krol, Archbishop of Philadelphia (by reference)
Mary Jo Kopechne, young woman who died at Chappaquiddick (by reference)
Floyd McKissick, leader of CORE (Congress on Racial Equality)
Ralph Nader, consumer activist
Elvis Presley, American entertainer

Muhammad Ali, prizefighter
Joe Frazier, prizefighter
George Foreman, prizefighter
Leon Spinks, prizefighter

Dr. Carlton Goodlett, physician, newspaper publisher, Temple supporter
Harvey Milk
Jack Lira, Harvey Milk’s companion (by reference)


Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Comrade Jackson (many Jacksons in Jonestown)Jonestown residents:
Jamal Baisy
Ethel Belle
Eugene Chaikin
Lovie de Pina
James Edwards
James Ford, aka James Wade
Tom Grubbs
Johnny Jones, aka Johnny Moss Brown
Thomas David Kice 2nd
Daisy Lee (speaks)
Diane Lundquist (by reference)
Jamal Lundquist, aka Antonio Jamal Patterson
Richard Tropp
Bonnie Simon
John Victor Stoen
Charlie Touchette (speaks)


Bible verses cited:      None


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

Jim Jones reads the news of 30 August 1978. Among the news items he spends a little time with:

• Fighting in Lebanon
• A tour of the Chinese Prime Minister to the Near East and Europe
• The US foreign trade gap, deficit spending, and other economic woes
• Political unrest in Portugal
• Nicaraguan military bombing of towns in its own country
• The Briggs referendum on homosexuality in California
• Access of the alternative press to newsmakers
• Alleged bribery of US congressmen by Korean business and intelligence interests
• Tornado in Memphis


While Jones quotes periodically from the BBC, the Voice of Netherlands and even the Voice of America, the wire service he uses the most is Tass, the Soviet news agency. Some of the perspectives have an even greater pro-Soviet tilt than other newscasts of the period, especially as they relate to coverage of Chinese attempts to become a world power, and the tilt seems to derive from both the wire service reports and Jones’ editorial interpretations.

“We say we’re not pro-Soviet or pro-Chinese,” Jones tells his followers early in the broadcast. “We say that the Soviets are fearful of Chinese expansionist aims in Europe. You understand? Chinese expansionist aims in Europe.” After detailing some of the “expansionist” plans – which includes China’s separate treaties with Eastern Bloc nations – Jones quotes a news source as saying, “China is a threat to word peace. She is cleverly and cunningly dividing the Soviet alliance, she has cleverly divided the US alliances in NATO, and is distinctly on the ascendancy as the major world power. And she holds no fear, the fear of nuclear war has no meaning to China whatsoever, said the Voice of Holland. It will mean that the Cold War will get the chilliest ever.”

Some of the other commentary is undoubtedly Jones’, though, most of it spontaneous. After pointing out that the tornado in Memphis “confined itself only to the fast food services, the quick service restaurants,” for example, Jones adds, “I think that there’s a dimension of mind – we’ve talked so much about McDonald’s – I wonder, by God, if maybe McDonald’s didn’t catch a little heat.” Returning the subject later, he points out that much of the tornado’s damage occurred along Elvis Presley Boulevard, and reminds the people of Jonestown that “the late Elvis Presley … was both a CIA and an FBI agent.”

Elsewhere, after describing the effects of the proposed Briggs proposition on the California ballot to ban homosexuals from teaching in public schools – and reading how Briggs himself interprets the potential impact of the measure – Jones offers his own reaction: “That’s a nice climate, isn’t it? Lovely climate in USA.”

Read less as a news item and more of an announcement, Jones tells of the death of Jack Lira, Harvey Milk’s longtime companion. Jones speaks about the support that Milk has given to Peoples Temple, and assigns one of the community leaders to organize an effort to send sympathy notes and cards. “We want to send a lot of letters,” Jones says.

Much of the first half of the tape is not devoted to news, though, but rather to a means to hammer into Jonestown residents some basic information about their political patrons in Guyana’s government. While the details of the incident leading to this demand are unclear, it is apparent that Jones and his staff have somehow been embarrassed by the general population’s lack of knowledge, and that the incident is fresh in their minds. Who is the leader of Guyana (and Jonestown’s patron)? What is his – and hence, Jonestown’s – political party? What is the opposition party? Why don’t we like it? What is the Doctrine of Three Worlds? The questions and answers are repeated several times, followed by a notice that everyone – including children – will be asked these questions in the food line that night, and that people who don’t know the right answers will be sent to the back of the line to try again. “That is it,” one unidentified Jonestown leader says. “You’re going to have to know one and possible all of these questions to order to get your dinner.”

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/11/79

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 1B69-33. This tape was found to contain the following:

News and commentary by JIM JONES. News items included topics such as:

1. West Germany
2. Hydrogen vehicles
3. Chinese Prime Minister HUA
4. U.S. trade deficit
5. Rhodesia

The news was interrupted and JONES stated that people would have to pass a quiz before being allowed in the food line. The news then continued which included topics such as:

6. Spinks ‑ Ali fight
8.  Senator KENNEDY
9. Korea

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted April 2008