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 “9/28/78 News”
Date cues on tape: Contents of tape consistent with tape label
President Jimmy Carter
Franklin Roosevelt, former U.S. President
Harry S Truman, former U.S. President
Dwight Eisenhower, former U.S. President
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Richard Nixon, former U.S. President
Pat Nixon, wife of Richard Nixon, (by reference)
Frank Press, science and technology advisor to President Carter
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Ray Marshall, U.S. Secretary of LaborRep. John Conyers (D-Michigan)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-Michigan)
Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel, House Assassination Committee
William Jordan, special envoy to Nicaragua
Joseph McCarthy, former U.S. Senator (by reference)
Peter I, the Great, Russian monarch
Catherine II, the Great, Russian monarch
Yemelyan Pugachev, leader of insurrection against Catherine II
Vladimir Ilich Lenin, father of Russian Revolution
Karl Marx, German economist, father of communism
Friedrich Engels, German philosopher and economist
Paul Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda in World War II
Marinus van der Lubbe, Dutch communist accused in Reichstag fire (by reference)
Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister during World War II
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister
James Callaghan, Prime Minister of Great Britain
Lord David Owen, British Foreign Minister
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, President of France (by reference)
Pope John XXIII
Pope John Paul I (by reference)
Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Hafez Al-Assad, President of Syria (by reference)
Kenneth David Kaunda, President of Zambia (by reference)
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Olusegun Obasanjo, president of Nigeria (by reference)
Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran
Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister
Johannes Vorster, South African Prime Minister
Pieter Willem Botha, South African Prime Minister
Jambyn Batmönkh, Chairman of Peoples Republic of Mongolia
Mao Tse-tung, leader of People’s Republic of China
Fang Yi, China’s Deputy Vice Premier
Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister (by reference)
Commander Clarence Price, Guyana Defense Force
Romesh Chandra, President of the World Peace Council
Leslie Harriman, Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Apartheid
Kurt Waldheim, United Nations General Secretary
Dennis Kucinich, Mayor of Cleveland (by reference)
John F. Diner, unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate
Harvey Milk, S. F. Supervisor
Mervyn Dymally, California Lt. Governor
Muhammad Ali, American boxer
David Caute, author of The Great Fear
Dick Gregory, American comedian
Paul Harvey, radio news commentator
Murray Kempton, journalist
James Kennedy, railway union official
George Meany, labor leader, head of AFL-CIO
Robert Pierson, President of General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists
David Spencer, radio ad man
Santo Trafficanti, Florida crime boss
Don (several Don and Donald in Jonestown)
Pat (likely Pat Grunnett)Jonestown residents:
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Jim Jones reads the news of the day, although he interrupts himself on numerous occasions to remind the residents of Jonestown that visitors from the Soviet Union are coming in.
On those occasions, he issues instructions on how the people are to talk to the guests. Some instructions are quite specific: “practice what you will be saying to guests who come in, how you enjoy it here, how we have protein daily, . all the beautiful food, and never [a] complaint and tell them how you have not considered going back to America if someone gave you a million dollars.” At other places on the tape, the instructions are more general. He wants his aides to post quotations by Marx and Lenin around the community, and urges everybody to greet the delegation when it arrives, to offer a few words in Russian or to show that they’ve read Russian history. There are also admonitions to keep up community and personal appearances, and people who fail to heed the instructions face time on Public Services.
Even as Jones notes that the people at the front gate will be responsible for being friendly to the arriving guests, he does not want security of the settlement to suffer. They must be vigilant about who comes in, even in the larger groups, and take precautions to protect themselves. “Everyone should always have an eye for that lone sniper that could try to sneak in.”
Nevertheless, most of the tape consists of news items for September 28, 1978. Among the subjects covered:
• The death of the new Pope;
• Efforts to bring a settlement to Rhodesia;
• Arab displeasure with the Camp David accords;
• Armed rebellion against the Somoza government in Nicaragua;
• President Carter’s threat to invoke the Railway Labor Act against striking workers;
• US and Soviet high-ranking officials meeting on strategic arms limitations;
• The House Assassinations Committee wrapping up hearings on JFK;
• A new prime minister in South Africa.
There are also three fairly lengthy commentaries. One is a review of a new book about the roots and effects of anti-communism in the U.S. (which – at $12.95 – he says they cannot afford). He also offers a short history of Russia, showing especially how the October 1917 Revolution flowed from the injustices against and exploitation of the people until that time. He follows that synopsis with a sprinkling of human interest stories and short features from the Soviet Union, including the visit to the country by the leader of the Seventh Day Adventists, the export of Soviet cars to Canada, and the development of a nature conservancy in the USSR. At the end of the tape, Jones reads a commentary on US-Chinese relations. Written from a Soviet perspective, the commentary is suspicious of both countries.
Some of the commentary about China comes from Jones himself, however. In describing ZbigniewBrzezinski, for example, Jones says that Carter’s national security advisor believes – like China – that nuclear war is inevitable, and even more insane than that, this it is “thinkable. China in her plans feels that if nuclear war comes becomes of her massive population, she will be the winner.” Jones couches the same belief in a warning in the piece on US-Chinese relations: “USA had better be careful. She’s being used to give China the hegemony that she seeks to be the one power that remains after the nuclear holocausts that she envisions to take place and is working very hard to bring about.” The inevitability of nuclear war is a primary force in much of Jones’ apocalyptic beliefs, and he consistently expressed it from the Temple’s earliest years in Indianapolis through Jonestown’s final days.
While Jones often makes editorial comments – both his and those of the news sources he’s quoting – during his readings of the news, he acknowledges in this tape that he is making these interjections, and moreover that some are his own. One news item reports that a new South African Prime Minister will succeed Johannes Vorster, but, Jones says, Pieter Botha is “a hardliner, as much a neo-fascist” as his predecessor. “That’s my commentary,” he adds. At another point, he refers to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as the “dictator of Zionist Israel,” as he does in many other tapes, but in this case he notes, “that’s my own subjective feeling.” Late in the reading, he says that the World Peace Council has cited the liberation of South Africa as “the most important international concern,” and declares, “I would agree with the World Peace Council.”
Nevertheless, other places are more difficult in identifying the source of a comment. He ends a historical aside about the Holocaust with the observation that “fascism . is the final state of monopoly capitalism,” then says, “There is no other place for monopoly capitalism to go.” It is a sentiment he shares with the pro-Soviet news services he reads, and in this case, he does not differentiate.
The tape does offer one glimpse into Jones’ understanding of Jonestown’s religious bent, or at least of his own, in the fall of 1978. In an item about a recall election of the Cleveland mayor, Jones says the mayor prevailed, but only because so few blacks voted, and that was due to the fact that “the establishment was clever enough to have [the election] on Sunday, . The blacks . were in church, studying about heaven. Which does not exist. This is the only heaven we’ll ever have, on earth, what we develop with our own sweat and blood.” It was religion, the opiate of the people, which lost the vote. “That’s why we are all atheists.”
Jones has trouble reading the news at times. This trouble occurred more and more frequently in the final months of Jonestown’s existence, and in most cases, even though he blamed the equipment or the people around him providing him with news items, his slurred voice or disconnected thoughts indicated the true source of the problem. In this tape, however, the problems seem genuine. He is apparently repeating the news as he listens to it over the wire, which is only a word or two ahead of him, and he finds it hard to put emphasis on the right words. “[I]t is a little difficult for me to listen and hear and relate because the static is considerable,” he says at one point, but “I’ll try to make as much sense out of the news as possible.” The tone and rhythms of his voice suggest that, at least in this tape, the problem does come from the medium and not the messenger.
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 1B93-13. This tape was found to contain the following:
A recording of JIM JONES giving a lesson on Soviet History and also the current news events.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2009