Q259 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 “Aug 16 News”

Date cues on tape:   Contents of tape consistent with label

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Richard Nixon, former U.S. President
Jennie Elizabeth Eisenhower, granddaughter of Richard Nixon


Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Leslie Harriman, Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Apartheid
Griffin Bell, U.S. Attorney General (by reference)
William Webster, FBI director
Sen. James Abourezk (D-SD)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
Dovie T. Pickett, Republican challenger to Diggs in 1978 (by reference)
Wyeth Chandler, Mayor  of MemphisKurt Waldheim, Secretary General of United Nations
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Margaret Thatcher, leader of Conservative Party in Great Britain

Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Nelson Mandela, jailed South African activist
Agostinho Neto, President of Angola
Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire

Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Vibert Mingo, Guyana Minister of Home Affairs
Tydeman (first name unknown) (phonetic), leader of Lutheran Church in Guyana

Marcus Garvey, Pan-African black nationalist
Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King
Daniel Ellsberg, Defense Department worker who leaked Pentagon Papers

L. Ron Hubbard, leader of Church of Scientology
Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of L. Ron Hubbard
Steven Heard, spokesperson for Church of Scientology
Sheehan Brown, lawyer for Church of Scientology

Ernest Hemingway, American author
Gary Cooper, American actor

Charles Garry, attorney for Peoples Temple (by reference)
Pat Richartz, paralegal for Charles Garry


Jonestown residents:
Harriet Sarah Tropp


Bible verses cited:
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth has made you free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)



Jim Jones reads the news for August 16, 1978.

As with most of the news tapes from this period, Jones seems to rely upon news wires from the Soviet Union for his information. He quotes Radio Moscow by name several times, although he does mention reports from the BBC and – more disparagingly – from the Voice of America.

As differentiated from other tapes of the period, however, Jones is decidedly more animated, both in his delivery and in the extent of his commentary. Many of the adjectives used to describe the United States and its Western allies could be from the news wires themselves – the US is always capitalistic and imperialistic, its lackeys are fascist – and many of the  sentiments Jones adds to the news are familiar to Jonestown residents. However, the extent and spontaneity of the additions show a more engaged Temple leader, at least for this day.

Referring to the Union of South Africa early in the tape, for example, he says, “That is the government of which one billion of our tax dollars went this year, 447 million dollars just a few weeks ago, of our tax dollars, when there’s not money for jobs, there’s no money for health and welfare, there’s no assistance for the poor, no legal defense, our prisons are overcrowded in USA, and yet they have money to uphold fascist white racist regimes, such as the Union of South Africa… Rhodesia and Union of South Africa are getting increasingly cocky, as USA openly flaunts human decency and hypocritically talks of human rights, while backing these … goddamnably vicious racist regimes.”

He also uses his time with the microphone to make more impassioned pleas for action and declarations of defiance to Temple enemies than he has most of the summer. Following the news of a failed coup in the Republic of the Congo – a coup backed by the CIA and its mercenaries – he intones, “[F]inally US imperialism and all of its lackeys, all the monopoly capitalists fascist ruling class will die. That’s one satisfaction, and I with the last breath of my being do pledge that I will use my body on the altar of sacrifice to reach out for some of those class enemies of the people.” Later, he turns the concept of brainwashing on its head, slamming those who “can’t think any further than motherhood, apple pie, Jesus Christ and the star-spangled banner.”

On several occasions, he mocks the dissenters among his followers who have expressed a desire to go home. Following a story about James Earl Ray – the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King – being beaten into a coma before he could testify before a House committee, he adds with sarcasm, “There you are. What’re you going to do with that evidence, you that want to go to Kansas and Memphis and Georgia? Where are all you people now? What about it?” In the same vein, he follow a story about striking Rhodesian miners with the taunt, “That’s how US upholds its riches. That’s how you thought you had prosperity. … Sure, they throwed you out a little handout like the dog gets a bone, but you had to do it at such a price. You watch TV at such a price. You had your can of beer and your little hamburger at such a price. You were killing black brothers.”

There is also one extended hyperbole which may be unique to this tape. In disputing the claim that the source of American power stem from its principles and opportunities, he says the real source is the wealth that it has obtained through the “rape” of both Africa and South America. “In Peru alone, out of one mine, the European whites and US white colonialists pulled out enough silver to build a bridge from this continent all the way to Spain made out of silver. I wouldn’t think you’d brag on what the white man’s done in USA.”

Aside from his one rhetorical bombast against class enemies, there are no references to his willingness – and by extension those of his people – to die for the cause. There are, however, four references to nuclear war, including one asserting its inevitability.

Among the other news items covered:

• The US refuses to attend a UN-sponsored conference on racism;
• Political prisoners are tortured in South Africa;
• Angola and Zaire enter into peace negotiations;
• The Organization of African Unity sets up trade unions;
• US continues to ship weapons to Israel, despite racial remarks;
• Western Europe plagued by high unemployment;
• The USSR sends medicine, food to war-ravaged Ethiopia;
• USSR supports African nations of Sierra Leone and Benin;
• Soviet cosmonauts set space endurance record;
• CIA manipulation of the weather backfires, causes damage to US crops;
• Soviet Union to divert rivers to irrigate deserts;
• • The US reports on effects of caffeine on pregnant women;
• US Senate refuses to extend ERA ratification deadline;
• Leaders of Scientology indicted for conspiracy to infiltrate federal agencies;
• Memphis public worker strike results in sabotage;
• Vietnam seeks peaceful relations with US; TV networks urge US to demand concessions;
• Switzerland inadvertently shells neighboring country;
• Embattled US Congressman Charles Diggs wins primary;
• Chrysler plant in England may move to France.


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 1B93-5. This tape was found to contain the following:

An introduction to the movie, “For Whom the Bells Toll”, by JAMES JONES.

A commentary and politicized reading of the news by JAMES JONES.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted January 2013