Q227 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 “9-21-78 News”

Date cues on tape:     Contents of tape consistent with tape identification note

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Part 1
Don Freed, screenwriter
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco newspaper publisher
Mark Lane, Temple attorney
Joe Mazor, private detective (by reference)


Part 3
President Jimmy Carter
Former President John F. Kennedy
Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of StateKurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the UN
Aldo Moro, Prime Minister of Italy

Hafez al-Assad, President of Syria (by reference)
Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
King Hussein of Jordan
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front
Johannes Vorster, South African Prime Minister

Salvador Allende, former President of Chile
Orlando Letelier, former Chilean Ambassador to US
Alvin Ross Díaz, accused assassin of Orlando Letelier (by reference)
Guillermo Novo Sampoll, accused assassin of Orlando Letelier (by reference)
Ignacio Novo Sampoll, accused assassin of Orlando Letelier (by reference)
Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower
Martin Luther King
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther king
Frank Rizzo, Mayor of Philadelphia (by reference)
Dr. Abraham Weinberg, New York psychiatrist
Dr. Marvin Zaporin, Chicago psychiatrist
Dr. Peter Martin, professor of psychiatry, University of Michigan

Charles Gain, San Francisco police chief
Howard Jarvis, co-author of Proposition 13
Paul Gann, co-author of Proposition 13

Angela Davis, university professor
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco newspaper publisher
Don Freed, screenwriter
Mark Lane, Temple attorney


Jonestown residents:
Part 1
Pat Grunnett
Lula Ruben


Part 2
Teresa KingPart 3
Maria Katsaris

Bible verses cited:      None


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

This tape consists of three distinct sections separated by edits, but it is conceivable, even likely, that the entire tape was recorded in a single day, 21 September 1978.

In Part 1, Jim Jones gives instructions to the Jonestown community about what to do – and what not to do – when some unnamed guests arrive. He is unable to receive the visitors himself, he says on several occasions, because he has a high temperature, although his voice is stronger here than it is on many occasions during Jonestown’s final months.

He suggests that the people leading the tour of Jonestown show off the clinic and tell the guests about the number of people they’ve treated, to talk about the good food they eat, to take them to the educational facilities, and especially to highlight their successes in agriculture, even in the soil that “the United Nations said … would grow nothing.”

Jones also tells people what not to say. He says that seniors often do agricultural work, but that they don’t have to, even if everyone else does, and – as a postscript – says, “that’s going to be the case, you can believe when I get things in control… Don’t be talking about that.”

Jones stage-manages a bit of choreography here. When the visitors are in the school, he wants the teacher to have the children “spontaneously” rehearse language lessons. Elsewhere, he proposes visible interaction between children and seniors: “have some children walking with seniors, have some seniors doing things with children, teaching them and have children reading to seniors.”

He also coaches them on what to say about their politics. “So say we love Guyana and then talk about racism a bit. How bad it is [in the US], what it’s meant to live there… But we’re not here to fight America, we’re here to build in peace.” Finally, he offers instructions on what to say about the conspiracy against them.

The second part of the tape is a warning to people who gossip about the Jonestown relationship committee, but there is a more fundamental message that Jones has repeated elsewhere: romance and love get in the way of people’s devotion to socialism and to the causes and success of Jonestown. Relationships mean that people lean on each other to fulfill their needs, and by definition, “any time you have to lean on someone, obviously you are not as strong as one who doesn’t lean.” Communism requires them to love each other equally. “I never would allow myself to get in love with anybody, because it would interfere with the love of everybody.”

The third and longest part of the tape is devoted to news and commentary of the day. Among the subjects Jones spends some time with:

• Dollar plunges to a postwar low
• US Supreme Court allows searches of student newspaper offices
• California cuts SSI payments
• Longshoremen in US block shipment of bomb parts to Chile
• Members of Chilean secret police to be extradited to US
• Arab reaction to Camp David
• West Bank settlements
• Somoza’s police murder of civilians in Nicaragua
• Rhodesian soldiers enter Mozambique in pursuit of Zimbabwean liberation forces


As with most of the newscasts, Jones sprinkles his opinions and commentary throughout the stories. Many are one- or two-word descriptions – the Chilean government is a “fascist junta,” the Camp David accord is a “sellout,” Ian Smith’s government in Rhodesia is a “white racist regime” – but others are more substantive.

His discussion of the declining dollar, for example, leads to a brief deconstruction of capitalist theory and his conclusion about the “contradiction of capitalism that finally brings down the system.” When he reports that President Carter has promised Arab nations of the Middle East that there will be no more Israeli settlements, he predicts the “US will break this promise as they … did all the treaties that they’ve made with the American native, the American Indian.” He also follows thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness manner several times, on one occasion taking a prediction of nuclear holocaust to US production of neutron bombs, to the lifting of the ban on weapons shipments to Rhodesia, to arms sales to South Africa.

His critique of capitalism returns throughout the tape. The world’s troubles in Africa and South America can be laid at the feet of capitalist greed. The state of Israel is a capitalist “scheme” to divide Jews. The United States consumes so much of the world’s resources because its economic system is capitalist. “It is not right,” he concludes. “Capitalism is immoral, it is criminal, it is sinful.”

Elsewhere, he draws direct lessons from different news stories to the people of Jonestown. In talking about the cut in SSI payments, and the underlying cause for California voter approval of Proposition 13 the previous summer, for example, he reminds his followers, “so you who have come to live here have lost nothing.”

Jones spends the most time talking about the popularity of science fiction. It’s easy to see why, he says. Science fiction gives facile answers to difficult questions, it presents good and bad in simple terms, it offers an alternative to what he believes is the inevitability of nuclear war, and it fulfills the role that religion used to by emphasizing moral themes. As Karl Marx remarked about religion, though, science fiction is an “opiate.” But true socialists do not look to space for their answers, whether in the form of God or intelligent civilizations. “Socialists [are] realist. Realists do not dream. We work with our hands and believe in our minds and believe in only the evolution of socialism.”

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/27/79

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 29, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B70-13. This tape was found to contain the following:

News and commentary concerning the current events of the world to the people of Jonestown People’s Temple.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted April 2008