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: “6/14/78 T-1 Wed News”
Date cues on tape: Tapes contents inconsistent with label; reference made to child born July 7, 1978, seemingly recent event. Likely mid-July 1978
Vladimir Lenin, father of Russian Revolution
Martha Peterson, US Embassy official in Moscow (by reference)
George C. Scott, American film actor
Debbie Layton Blakey
Kathy Hunter of Ukiah Daily Journal (by reference)
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Carrie (either Langston or Corey) (speaks)
Brother Johnson (numerous men named Johnson, likely Earl or Robert)
Regina (several, including Regina Duncan, who is identified)
Jack Beam (speaks)
Robert Christian (speaks)
Sharon Cobb, aka Sharon Jones
Julie Cordell, aka Julia Guevara
Ebony Duncan (by reference)
Regina Duncan, aka Regina Jackson
Juanita Green (speaks)
Dorothy Lesheene Harris, aka Shajhuanna Harris
Marthea Hicks (speaks)
Johnny Moss Brown Jones (speaks)
Rose Marie McKnight (speaks)
Alfreda March (speaks)
Chris Rozynko (speaks)
Michael Rozynko, aka Mike Lund
Pauline Scott (speaks)
Jewell James Simpson
Charlie Touchette (speaks)
Janilah Wilhite (by reference)
Johnnie Mae Yates (speaks)
Bible verses cited: None
(This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from disclosure.)
This Peoples Rally from the summer of 1978 includes many elements of a community meeting which the people of Jonestown had come to expect by then. There are agricultural reports and discussions of infrastructure – in this case, the electrical demands and capabilities for Jonestown – as well as reports on praises and warnings to individuals, usually reflecting their work ethics and attitudes, but sometimes focusing on behavioral issues. There are a couple of confrontations which Jim Jones must adjudicate. Finally, there is a call from an anonymous voice in the crowd noting that it’s past midnight and pleading for a simple solution – however temporary – so they can move on.
Even as Jones leads some of the mundane discussions, he periodically detours onto other subjects which reflect larger, more fundamental concerns about the community. These are also the subjects which the FBI found of interest in its investigation of the Temple and underlay the agency’s early decision to withhold the tape from public disclosure. A report about bean harvests, for example, leads to a discussion about how to keep birds out of the fields, which in turn leads to a suggestion to hunt down some of the birds and include them in the community’s diet, which leads to a conversation about hunting in general. At that point, Jones reminds everyone that they are not to reveal to anyone that there are guns in Jonestown. “Yeah, we have no weapons. Anybody ever ask if you have guns? No. No. Guyana’s licensed some, plus we do not admit that to anybody coming in. Guyana doesn’t care, but it could hurt our people back there, because they say we’re an armed camp. … So you see no guns, we don’t have them, we obviously don’t see them.”
His digression into this particular charge made by Jonestown’s “traitors” – the most recent of whom was Debbie Layton Blakey, a defection over which he is still smarting – leads him to coach the community members on other answers they should give, should anyone ask them. There is no censorship of mail, either going out or coming in. They don’t have beatings or whippings. They don’t bury people in boxes, and in fact, there is no box. There is no P.A. system that reaches the fields. They do have protein at every meal – Blakey’s assertion that they only ate rice had been especially stinging – and families have their own homes.
Jones acknowledges that there is a woman who has been “permanently isolated from this community” for reasons that anyone, including authorities in the U.S., would agree was appropriate, “but we don’t talk about that either.”
The safest avenue, he cautions the crowd before him, is not to talk to any visitors about anything, because – despite their outward appearance – they could be reporters or CIA agents. And if anyone violates the rules, Jones says he’ll find out about it and vows to hunt them down, wherever they might be.
A later discussion about the equipment needed to stabilize and upgrade electrical service reveals some of the decision-making processes in Jonestown, and how a question about someone’s judgment can lead into a confrontation on his overall character. Faced with a complication on an order for a generator that required a quick decision, Chris Rozynko opted to cancel. On this night, he is before the Jonestown community, forced to defend that decision.
The fundamental problem, as his critics tell him, is that he made a decision on his own involving finances, one that went counter to what the Finance Committee and Jones himself had directed. Rozynko stands by his own decision: unanticipated problems arose, a decision had to be made, and he could not reach his superior, so he acted. One unidentified woman in particular makes several accusations against him, but even when she is discredited, Rozynko remains on the floor.
At one point, an unidentified male reminds everyone that the “law” of Jonestown requires Rozynko’s partner to be on the floor with him. Moreover, the role of the partner is to lead the criticism against him. The partner’s initial stab at Rozynko proves insufficient. A woman in the crowd reminds her that she has been much harsher on other occasions – “I’ve heard you be awful rough on people, and you’re being awful gentle” – and even Rozynko joins in. “I really don’t appreciate this from you, so I’d appreciate it if you would get your shit together about me. If you have anything to say, say it now, okay?” The partner then responds in kind.
This law, and its implementation, stems from Jones’ echoing of what he says is a Communist tenet: “Lenin abolished all marriage and abolished the entire family unit, because it was self-serving, cover ass, and was anti-revolutionary, and I’m suspicious of any companion that doesn’t immediately get on their feet and tear into their companion.”
There is no resolution regarding the presumed authority in Rozynko’s decision, and Jones moves on to other problems, including two instances during which women got into physical altercations. Jones has the same reaction to each – “We have said absolutely no violence, and then goddamnit, I mean no violence,” he says about the first; “We will not tolerate hitting, from anybody,” he says about the second – but only on the former does he make the night’s single reference to death, on a seemingly-throwaway remark: “If we can’t reason our way, then I just as soon we all stepped over the other side.”
Date of transcription: 7/3/79
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 1B93-15. This tape was found to contain the following:
Quotes and instructions by JIM JONES to his people in Guyana.
JONES was talking about shooting some birds that were destroying their crops when he said, “We can use our licensed guns, we have no weapons if anybody ever asks you, if we have guns, no-no. Guyana has licensed some, but we to not admit that to anybody coming in…” “So you see no guns, we don’t have them”.
JIM JONES then goes on to give instructions to his people in the event they receive any visitors, “If asked, did you get your mail, you say yes and if you answered and did some one help you write it, you answer, yes you answered and no help was needed to write it…” “You better not say anything else now…” “Some of you, like the end of the world, then make a mistake…” “We don’t beat people…” “We do not let people know that we have someone presently locked up…” “We do not have sermons on the air…” “We don’t bury babies…” “You better get this in your brains…” “You better not complain, damn you, not one”… “I’ll haunt your ass wherever you hide.” … “I found one of them suckers in West Germany and nobody is hearing from these days either”… “Now you seniors better wake up and you better give the right answer” “I better not have nobody, when somebody comes and asks you how you fell say, “I fell off the top bunk of the bed, we’ll see if you can fall off two bunks next time.”
The rest of the tape concerns basically electrical problems that they were having at the PT in Guyana and personality conflicts among themselves.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted June 2012