Q256 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:          Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “9-17-78 News”

Date cues on tape:     Notation on tape box consistent with content

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Anastasio Somoza Garcia, patriarch of Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua
Anastasio Somoza Debayle, President of Nicaragua
Anastasio Somoza Portocarrero, son of President Somoza (by reference)
Augusto Cesar Sandino, Nicaraguan resistance fighter, namesake of Sandinista National Liberation Front


Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
José Lopez Portillo, President of Mexico
Chinese communist party Chairman Hua Kuo-fenj
Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi
Subramanian Swamy, member of Indian Parliament
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indian foreign ministerU.S. President Jimmy Carter
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Secretary Advisor
Harold Brown, Defense Secretary
James Schlesinger, Energy Secretary
Andrew Young, U.S. ambassador the United Nations
Mauricio Solaún, U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua
Paul Warnke, SALT negotiator

Senator Henry Jackson (D-Wash.)

John F. Kennedy, assassinated president
Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated presidential candidate
Malcolm X, assassinated black activist
Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated civil rights leader

Fred Busey, President of Texas Instruments
Mark Lane, attorney and author (by reference)


Jonestown residents:
Vincent Lopez


Bible verses cited:      None


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

Jim Jones reads the news of the day, and offers periodic editorial comments. He struggles at times, both with the pronunciation of some words and with the context of a sentence, and attributes his mistakes to the fact that he was up all night. Near the beginning of the newscast, he interrupts himself to warn people about the dangers of the jungle – snakes, tigers, and the ease in getting lost – but most of the tape is devoted to news and analysis.

The bulk of the tape is devoted to a feature-length article about Nicaragua under the successive – and repressive – Somoza governments, and the struggles of Sandinista rebels to topple the current regime. Other news stories include:

• The removal of civilians from the Bikini Island atoll because of radiation resulting from nuclear testing;
• France’s decision to back out of a nuclear reprocessing deal with Pakistan;
• New discoveries of oil in Mexico;
• The visit of Chinese communist party Chairman Hua Kuo-fenj to Iran;
• Negotiations on a longstanding border dispute between China and India;
• Chinese foreign policy in general; and
• Debate over US sales of electronic technology to the Soviet Union.


Jones’ editorial comments range from throwaway lines – “What a crime,” he says following a description of Somoza family land holdings in Nicaragua; “No doubt about it,” he observes after reading the “reliable report” that the CIA trained Somoza’s National Guard – to more extended remarks. Both in content and pacing of the delivery, some of the longer statements seem as though they are part of the readings themselves, as when he speaks of “the contradictions of capitalism that sooner or later will bring it to its timely death.” Other commentary is more familiar to Temple members listening to the report: “[It m]akes our hearts ache when we think how much of our money went out to support this kind of devastating cruelty [in Nicaragua],” he says, “and all the children that have been napalmed across the world, all of the horrible acts of torture that have been done in the name of our tax dollars.”

A recurring theme of Jones’ own worldview appears numerous times in his choice of subject matter. In discussing the implications of Pakistan getting the bomb, especially given its disputes with India, Jones says that the proliferation of weaponry, the problems that atomic states face, and human fallibility will lead to a fatal mistake. “It’s as inevitable as the sun rises.” A moment later, as he reads a sidebar to the Franco-Pakistani deal about selling reprocessing technology to Brazil, Jones says that “in light of that, … 98.7 [percent] … of the leading scientists of the world said nuclear war would happen in the 1980’s.”

The discussion of Chinese foreign policy includes a caveat about the country’s long-range plans: “China has a Doctrine of Three Worlds, and unfortunately the nuclear age does not have time for us to pass through it, according to many theorists at least.” Later in the same report, though, Chinese policy seems to mirror his own view: “China’s doctrine… is based on the inevitability – that means the absolute certainty – of nuclear war. It’s China’s feeling that one must get it over with.”

The news closes with an endorsement of socialism as the only system which will “serve the people well.”

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 30, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-2. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES giving news briefings and sermonizing to People’s Temple members in Jonestown.

This tape was reviewed and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of the murder of Congressman RYAN.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted March 2009