Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “9/27/78 News”
Date cues on tape: News items consistent with label on tape box
President Jimmy Carter
Former President Richard Nixon
Former Vice President Spiro Agnew
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security advisor
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Michael Blumenthal, U.S. Treasury Secretary
Richard Helms, former head of CIA
Jerry Brown, governor of CaliforniaAdolf Hitler
Pope John Paul II
Queen Elizabeth II (by reference)
British Lord Chancellor Frederick Elwyn-Jones (by reference)
Knut Frydenlund, Foreign Minister of Norway (by reference)
Franz Joseph II, Prince of Liechtenstein (by reference)
Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares, prime minister of Portugal
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary of USSR
Andrei Gromyko, Foreign Minister of USSR
Joseph Luns, NATO General Secretary
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt
Menachim Begin, prime minister of Israel
Hafez Al-Assad, president of Syria (by reference)
King Hussein of Jordan
Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi (by reference)
Amir Khosrow Afshar, Iranian Foreign Minister (by reference)
Azour Visnif [phonetic], unknown Defense Minister associated with Camp David
Agostinho Neto, President of Angola
Olusegun Obasanjo, head of military government of Nigeria
Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
B. J. Vorster, retired Prime Minister of South Africa
Kofi Abrefa Busia, former Prime Minister of Ghana
Zambian Home Affairs Minister, name unknown
Pietr Kornkoff [phonetic], South African Minister of Sports and National Education
Ambassador Nasako [phonetic, first name unknown], Somalian Ambassador to U.S.
Deng Xiaoping, Vice Premier of China
Sunao Sonoda, Foreign Minister of Japan
Augusto Pinochet, military ruler of Chile
Salvador Allende, President of Chile, deposed in 1973 coup
Hortensia Bussi, widow of Allende
Orlando Letelier, assassinated Chilean ambassador to US
Michael Townley, American accused in Letelier murder
Anastasio Somoza Debayle, President of Nicaragua
Óscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador
Elias Zayman [phonetic], leader of Maoist group in Argentina
Roberto Chistino [phonetic], leader of Maoist group in Argentina
Wallace Deen Mohammed, leader of Nation of Islam
Sam Shepard, School Director in San Francisco
Gerald Crowley, president of California Organization of Police and Sheriffs
Myron Farber, jailed New York Times reporter
Mario Jascalevich, murder defendant who sought Farber’s notes
David Frost, British TV host who interviewed Richard Nixon
James Edwards, aka Reb
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Jim Jones reads the news for September 27, 1978. As with many newscasts, Jones seems to rely upon Soviet or Eastern bloc news sources. The items themselves focus on more international news than most Americans are used to, especially in their coverage of Cuba, Africa and Eastern bloc countries. In addition, the news includes several attacks on Chinese policies, revealing the then-ongoing struggle between the USSR and its Asian neighbor.
The editorial comment that laces through the news – when not that of Jones – criticizes American economic and geopolitical interests. Jones does add his own comments, though, putting stories in the context of object lessons for the people of Jonestown.
There is only one subject not related to the news which Jones raises, and he does so at the beginning of the tape: A storage tent in Jonestown has collapsed and exposed its contents to the elements. Items have been “wasted,” he says, including equipment that people in Jonestown specifically requested and which cost a great deal of money to bring there.
Among the news items which Jones reports on are:
• The declaration of a South African government minister that the German ancestry of the nation’s white minority guarantees its survival;
• UN calls for additional sanctions against South Africa;
• The true story of the deals emerging from the Camp David accords, and the reaction to the agreement in the Arab world;
• The progress which the West Saharan liberation movement claims to have made over Morocco;
• US support for the Somozan regime in Nicaragua;
• The massing of Chinese troops at its border with Vietnam;
• The US move towards production of neutron bombs;
• An earthquake in Iran;
• The crash of a PSA flight in San Diego;
• A strike by copper miners in Peru;
• US deficit figures of seven billion dollars for the year;
• The gentrification of the Fillmore in San Francisco;
• A California law enforcement endorsement of Jerry Brown for re-election.
Much of the editorialization is identifiable as being from Jones himself, especially that which seems to be spontaneous and more heartfelt. As he concludes the item on the redevelopment of the Fillmore, which had been the home of the San Francisco Temple, he adds, “Little by little, the Fillmore is being edged out for black people.” When he reports on the police endorsement of erstwhile Temple supporter Gov. Brown, Jones comments, “That’s the end of Brown, in my mind. That is the end, when we can see that kind of shit come from Brown.”
Others are familiar enough to the people of Jonestown. He describes the neutron bomb as a weapon “the Air Force USA jokingly called their nigger bomb,” but he does so twice in this tape, and he has characterized it dozens of times with almost the exact same words elsewhere. Similarly, his invocations of the inevitability of nuclear war – while inspired by news items about China or Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security advisor – have not changed in 20 years.
But there are specific messages in the news for the people of Jonestown, and these come from Jones rather than the stories themselves. The high unemployment rate in the Western Addition section of San Francisco leads him to wonder aloud, “That make you want to go back to San Francisco?” He also reminds the community that they don’t have earthquakes in Guyana – such as the one which rocked Iran – and no weather like hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones. Guyana, he says in summary, is “one of the few places in the world that have absolutely no natural disasters.”
Another message with which the residents of Jonestown are well-acquainted – in large part because Jones has many opportunities to deliver it – is his call for people to hang their heads in shame at what their tax dollars do. Rhodesian war planes being used against liberation fighters? They were supplied by the U.S., that means American tax dollars at work. The survival of apartheid? It comes from being propped up by the U.S. government. Somalian plans to invade Ethiopia, a country with a black socialist government? “More of our tax dollars to make our stomach turn and cause guilt if you have any conscience at all.” Napalm bombs which the Moroccan Air Force is dropping on Marxist-nationalist rebels? They are “obtained, of course, you know where, with our tax dollars from the United States and then some of you say you have no guilt.
“I don’t know how,” Jones continues. “Because all of you, if you were a child even and bought a lollipop, you paid taxes on it, [and] it went to help buy these bombs.”
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 1B93-12. This tape was found to contain the following:
News reports on current events by Rev. JIM JONES to members of People’s Temple, Jonestown, Guyana.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted March 2010