Q248 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 “10/1/78 News”

Date cues on tape:     Part 1 consistent with tape identification note; Part 2 specifies date as 16 September 78

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Part 1
President Jimmy Carter
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor
Jody Powell, White House Press Secretary
Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State

U.S. Senator Gary Hart (D-CO)

Adolf Hitler
Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister of Nazi Third Reich

Kurt Waldheim, UN Secretary General
Pope John Paul I
Leonid Brezhnev, President of Communist Party of Soviet Union
Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister

Robert Mugabe,  leader of Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Joshua Nkomo,  leader of Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire
Agostinho Neto, Angolan President
Mao Tse Tung, leader of People’s Republic of China

Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua
General Augusto Pinochet, President of Chile
Dr. Salvador Allende, deposed President of Chile

Syndicated columnist Rowland Evans
Syndicated columnist Robert Novak
Marvin Stone, editor of US News & World Report

Part 2
President Jimmy Carter
Vice President Walter Mondale
Former President Richard Nixon

U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-SD)
U.S. Senator John Stennis (D-MS)
Unita May Blackwell Wright, mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi

António de Oliveira Salazar, former prime minister of Portugal

Chiang Kai-shek, President of Republic of China
Mao Tse Tung, leader of People’s Republic of China

Robert Mugabe,  leader of Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Joshua Nkomo,  leader of Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister

Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua

Mervyn Dymally, Lieutenant Governor of California

Thomas Dawsey, Kessler Air Force Base engineer (by reference)
Leon Joly, March Air Force Base engineer (by reference)
Redd Foxx, American entertainer
Emily Harris, member of Symbionese Liberation Army
John Harris, member of Symbionese Liberation Army
Patricia Hearst, newspaper heiress kidnapped by SLA
Robert Shaw, actor


Peoples Temple members
Part 2
Florida Johnson


Jonestown residents:
Part 2
Teri Buford
Jim McElvane


Bible verses cited:      “It is not yet said whether the [Zimbabwean] Patriotic Front will take [Ian] Smith’s offer. Approached him like Nicodemous did by night.” (John 3:1-21; also John 7:50-53, John 19-39)



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

Jim Jones reads the news from two dates in Fall 1978. The first half of the tape is likely from 1 October 1978 (the initial tape identification note lists that date, and the news items are consistent), and when that newscast ends, another tape picks up during which Jones reads a news story with the specific dating “[a]s of ten p.m. on September sixteenth.” The two newscasts on the same tape – and the fact that the more recent newscast overlaps the older one – show that tapes were re-used over and again.

Part 1 of the tape begins with Jim Jones reading a lengthy article from a Soviet – or pro-Soviet – publication on the dangers of warm relations and détente between the United States and China. While most of Jones’ newscasts seem to be from several sources, such as Reuters and the BBC, beyond those from the Eastern Bloc, this commentary and much of the October reading has the single perspective. “No one in history has ever profited from taking the road of anti-Sovietism,” Jones reads towards the end of the lengthy piece. “Today, this is truer than ever. The Soviet Union is not without means of defense.” A moment later, Jones adds his own coda: “Thus ends the commentary on the dangers – the immense dangers – and short-sided gain of the present US and mainland China foreign policy.”

Among the news items Jones reads:

• Arab reaction to Camp David summit
• UN resolution on the Namibian election
• Meeting of Organization of African Unity on Rhodesia and South Africa
• Friendship treaty between Zambia and Angola
• Attack of Nicaraguan military and police upon civilian populations
• Chilean junta supplied with arms from China
• Soviet cosmonauts set world endurance record for time in space


Towards the end of Part 1, Jones describes the negotiations between Jonestown and high-ranking officials at the Soviet embassy in Georgetown as going “very, very well” and speaks of their joint friendship and understanding. “We have made no mistake in making the Soviet Union our spiritual motherland,” Jones says as the section concludes, but whether that “spiritual” connection is translating into concrete plans for the much-touted plans to emigrate is not revealed.

Part 2 is the conclusion of a newscast from two weeks earlier. Among the items Jones discusses:

• Police dogs used on blacks during riots in St. Louis
• Post office workers’ threatened strike thwarted by federal court
• Earthquake in Taiwan
• President Carter opposes aircraft carriers advocated by Sen. John Stennis
• Entertainer Redd Foxx arrested
• Symbionese Liberation Army defendants sentenced
• Sen. George McGovern proposes wheat cartel
• Rhodesian government enters into serious negotiations with liberation forces
• General Dynamics to receive additional payments for submarines


As he does in other newscasts, Jones makes the lessons of the news applicable to what is going on in Jonestown. After reading the item about additional payments to General Dynamics – which he describes as a “welfare handout” for a Fortune 500 company; “Who are the real welfare cheats?” he asks rhetorically – he points out how tax dollars are being used “to kill our brothers and sisters across the world” and says the news should instill them with “a desire to work and help liberate our people and bring them here quickly.”

The newscast ends with a plea for Jonestown residents to supply names of family members and friends living in Southern California to the radio room so that they might help in a letter-writing campaign, because “[t]here’s new evidence that they’ll be making moves in Los Angeles against some of our people.” The plea includes another appeal to redouble their own personal efforts. “Let us work in the fields and step up our production immensely so we can get them out of there. That’s what we need to do, find ways of making money and get them out of there.”

Both newscasts close with Jones’ declaration of love for his people.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 5/29/79

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 1B70-34. This tape was found to contain the following:

News of the day and commentary by JAMES JONES.

Differences with FBI Summary:

Other than the fact that the news and commentaries come from two different days, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted April 2008