Q240 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: Unidentified Individuals Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: None

Date cues on tape: January 19, 1978 (specified on tape)

People named:

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Keith (likely either Keith Wright or Christopher Keith O’Neal)

Jonestown residents:
Rheaviana Beam
Rebecca Beikman
Phil Blakey (speaks)
Jim Bogue
Selika Bordenave (speaks)
Wesley Breidenbach
Tish Eichler (speaks)
Gene Chaikin (speaks)
Ernest Green
Tommie Keaton
Teresa King (speaks)
Danny Kutulas (speaks)
Sebastian McMurry
Russell Moton (speaks)
Anthony Simon (speaks)
Wanda Swinney (speaks)
Christine Talley (speaks)
Charlie Touchette
Alleane Tucker
Jan Wilsey (speaks)

Bible verses cited: None


(Note: his tape was transcribed by Don Beck. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)

This tape is a report of the Jonestown agriulture committee to the community as a whole. People on the committee make a weekly report on their work with cows and milk production, chickens and egg production – 2286 eggs for the days listed, or about 167 dozen per week – and the numbers of rows of produce planted and harvested. The people also talk about the problems they face along the way, including keeping the baby chicks warm enough to survive their first few days, as well as providing water in automatic watering trays.

While there is some expertise among the people on the committee, some are new to the work, as they readily admit to themselves. “[A] lot of us are from the cities,” one man says near the beginning of the tape, “and never had a chance to live on a farm till now.” It shows: “We was told to use a kerosene lantern which did not provide much heat for the chicks, and so we lost 11.” In addition, several of the people making reports – both experienced and recent – speak of the special challenges they face due to their unfamiliarity with the conditions in Guyana.

But they’re also making progress, as another man says later. “[A] lot of us didn’t know anything about farming or animals, and turned out to be pretty good farmers and animal care takers.”

The residents are also inexperienced. The questions which follow each report show people struggling to understand the basics of the food production which will sustain them.

The meeting is structured with an agenda and a series of reports, and is conducted in a business-like, methodical manner. Nevertheless, there is also some levity – after one man breaks down his harvest of almost a ton of produce and asks for recommendations, another man suggests they “plant more next week” – as well as periodic laughter.

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 1B70-27. This tape was found to contain the following:

Agriculture Meeting

Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted January 2006