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 “10/25/78”
President Jimmy Carter
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance
Menachim Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Mengistu Haile Mariam, Chairman of Ethiopia’s military administration [by reference]
Mohamed Siad Barre, President of Somalia
Gaafar Muhammad Nimeiry, President of Sudan [by reference]
Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in RhodesiaMorarji Desai, Indian Prime Minister
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister
Sunny Ogle [phonetic], Director of cultural events in Guyana
Joseph “Reds” Perreira, Guyana sports broadcaster
Viola Liuzzo, slain civil rights worker
Gary Rowe, FBI informant in car with men who killed Liuzzo
Collie Leroy Wilkins, Klansman
William Orville Eaton, Klansman
Eugene Thomas, Klansman
William Wilkins Lucas, unknown person connected with Liuzzo murder
Dr. Walter Carmen, physician published in New England Journal of Medicine
Doris Linton (likely erroneous combination of two names)
Mr. Mueller (only Jonestown resident was female)
Crenshaw (either Francine or Eddie)
Phyllis Bloom, aka Phyllis Chaikin
Love Life Lowe
Levatus V. McKinnis
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Jim Jones reads the news. He speaks slowly and deliberately throughout the broadcast, and has difficulty summoning words. At times, his voice slurs into incomprehension. He may be tired, or he may be incapacitated by illness or drugs. The tape recorder periodically picks up the voice of an unknown young woman, who softly reads a few words or a phrase at a time, which Jones then repeats.
He realizes his difficulty, even if he doesn’t confess it. On the contrary, early in the tape – even as the recorder picks up the voice coaching him through a news item – he says his deliberation is out of respect for some of Jonestown’s residents. “I’m trying to read slower for you that require, you say, not so fast reading.… I will try to slow down to meet your need.” He repeats the reason later, then adds, “And sometimes this machine makes it slower yet.” When the issue comes up a third time, he says it’s hard the radio and simultaneously report it.
His difficulty also manifests itself in a periodic inability to focus on the news before, as he wanders into reverie. At the end of a news item about the Rhodesian army using arms – paid for by US taxes – against the forces of liberation, he offers a brief and familiar editorial comment (“It makes my blood boil”), then adds, “I didn’t do so great as a child more than I did. I educated a great family here, socialism, and one day we want to get to use it.”
Among the news items Jones covers:
• The prospects for Palestinian unity after Camp David
• Unrest in India
• Ethiopian government reforms may include closer ties to USSR
• Somali cabinet members sentenced to death
• The effects of MSG
As with other news tape, Jones offers periodic editorial comments. After alleging CIA involvement in a blast that destroyed a shipment of food to India, he says, “But what’s that matter to people who want to carry on their own ruling class supremacy irrespective of who it hurts? [In] Fact, I imagine most of them laughed over the matter while taking cocktails.” He then adds with more gravity, “But we shall see the day. We shall see the day.”
Other comments show not only Jones’ pro-Communist leanings, but his tilt towards the Soviet state, from which he receives most of his news and outside commentary. A news item on Somalia includes a short critique on Chinese meddling in the struggle, and while Jones praises China’s “beautiful domestic views of communal living,” he declares with equal assurance, “They are nothing but half-wits when it comes to foreign policy.” A moment later, he praises the people of Somalia: “It’s amazing that they were able to get as far as they did… because US imperialism is right there with their missiles and China with her spies.”
In the concluding moments of the tape, Jones reads from a list of 160 Jonestown residents who “think you’re better than others.” They will be disciplined with extra work or classes, because “we will not tolerate that.” Nevertheless, he suggests there will be lighter punishment if the miscreants appear before him and “confess now as to why you do it.” As he reads the names, he waives the penalties for some – some secretaries and some field workers – but tells the rest, “Some of you people have the best records in the world, but you’ve got a lot of nerve thinking you can step out of a class.”
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 28, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B69-36. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES reading news items and announcements.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted March 2009