Q284 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 “May 20, 1978 4 Major Enemies of Internationl [International] Communism”

Date cues on tape : 20 May 1978 (notation on tape box, confirmed in context)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

      Frederick Engels
      Vladmir Lenin
      Mao Tse-Tung
      Jiang Qing, wife of Mao Tse-Tung, by reference
      Karl Marx
      Josef Stalin
      Leon Trotsky
      Ugandan Finance Minister Brigadier Moses Ali
      Ugandan President Idi Amin
      Dominico Bartoli, Italian newspaper editor
      Alexis Watson Castillo, “Panamanian defector”
      Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro
      Percy Kwabulzel (phonetic), black newspaper editor in South Africa
      Philippines Pres. Ferdinand Marcos
      Imelda Marcos
      Aldo Moro, former Italian Premier
      Angolan President Agostinho Neto
      Chile Pres. Augusto Pinochet
      Zaire Pres. Mobutu Sese Seko
      Panama Supreme Leader General Omar Torrijos
      Dr. Cort Vorheim (phonetic), Soviet doctor in Moscow
      President Jimmy Carter
      U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
      New York Governor Hugh Carey
      Midge Constanza, ombudsman in Carter administration
      U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini (R-AZ)
      U.S. Rep. Charles Diggs, (D-MI)
      former U.S. Senator James Eastland
      former President John Kennedy
      U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
      former Senator Robert Kennedy
      former Senator Joseph McCarthy
      U.S. Rep. Lawrence P. McDonald (D-GA)
      former President Richard Nixon
      former U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D-NY)
      former U.S. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller
      former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt
      U.S. Senator John Stennis (D-MS)
      Sheldon Albert, Philadelphia city solicitor
      Roland Angle, Alameda high school teacher
      W. Barksdale, San Francisco teacher
      Ewart Guinier, professor of Afro-American studies at Harvard
      Rev. Ike
      Claude Lightfoot, CPUSA field secretary
      Rev. Sun Myung Moon
      Newspaper publisher Rupert Murdoch
      Black Panther leader Huey Newton
      Larry Orloff, San Francisco teacher
      Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo
      NYT columnist Nick Thimmesch
      ____ Cirillo, NYPD officer (phonetic spellings in this section)
      Cleveland Davis, aka Jomo Eric Thompson, former Attica inmate
      Maliano Gonzales, aka Dalu, former Attica inmate
      ____ Masconi, NYPD officer
      Christy Masson, NYPD officer
      Norman Sahulo, NYPD officer
      Guyana Minister of Immigration, Home Affairs Vibert Mingo
      U.S. State Department Guyana Desk officer (by reference)

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:

      Debbie Blakey [Layton] (by reference)
      Kathy Hunter, wife of publisher of Ukiah Daily Journal
      David Conn
      George Klineman

Jonestown residents:

      Jean Brown
      Larry Layton (by reference)
      Lisa Layton (by reference)
      Mary Tschetter

Bible verses cited : None


This tape of Jim Jones reading to the Jonestown community, falls into two subject areas: a long, dense article on Marxist-Leninist theory; and the daily news. There is a break about two-thirds the way through of unknown duration — not synchronized with the change of subject matter, though — following which Jones speaks in a different, slower tone. The date clues show that, if the second part were not made on the same day, it’s within a few days.

In his reading of the long discourse on Marxist-Leninist theory, Jones acknowledges at times that it’s not easy to understand. He suggests that those using the tape in class should slow it down or stop, so people can digest what they’re hearing. And even though the article says that study groups are outmoded as a “principal theoretical task,” Jones inserts his own view that, “[s]tudy groups, of course, continue to exist and should, particularly in Jonestown at the end of the work day, so we know what we are fighting for.” When the article says a strong socialist movement is the only way to avoid nuclear war, Jones appends his view that “there’s no chance — not hardly a snowball’s chance in hell, particularly, that nuclear war can be stopped.” He adds this view throughout the reading of the news as well, alluding to the inevitability — and little chance of survival — of a nuclear war.

Among the news items:

o Carter military assistance used to bomb revolutionaries in Zaire;
o CETA grant to support gays in Florida;
o Eritrea and Somalia invaded by Ethiopia;
o Trilateral Commission racism and control of capitalist countries, a theme to which he returns several times (“It’s the God in these last stages of capitalism”);
o Afghanistan moves closer to USSR;
o Kampuchea/Vietnamese relations;
o Philippines and the USSR;
o Union of South Africa news, including blacks sentenced under Terrorism Act; and the country getting loans from the Export-Import Bank; voting in Soweto township;
o Rebellions in Brazil;
o Strikes and unrest in Chile;
o The siege of MOVE in Philadelphia;
o The Red Brigade’s kidnapping and assassination of former Italian premier Aldo Moro;
o An official of the Communist Party USA touring US campuses;
o Communist teachers in L.A.;
o Strikes in Italy;
o The policies and supplies of gold in the world, and how it affects the dollar, and its impact on American society (“how right we were to get out of there before they sweep up people in concentration camps before genocide and nuclear war comes”) later, Jones returned to general news of U.S. government against poor and minorities;
o The Panama Canal treaty (mentioned several times);
o U.S. firms making bread for Syria;
o 22 former prisoners of Attica shot on streets of New York;
o Corruption of Idi Amin administration in Uganda;
o Angolan president ill in a Moscow hospital;
o Redevelopment of Oakland tenements may force poor blacks to move;
o Revamping of U.S. criminal code with the help of Sen. Edward Kennedy;
o FBI preparing massive anti-terrorist program;
o FBI used Howard University to discredit black liberation efforts;
o Members of Congress on disability payouts;
o Members of Congress receiving kickbacks from Korean CIA.

Jones reminds people of his philosophy for reading the news and keeping current on the day’s events: “I hope that you will digest [the news], think about it, organize it in your thinking, because we need to be thinkers. Without knowledge, we have nothing but animalism, total disloyalty to everything living. We have no sensitivity, we have no principle. It takes knowledge to bring us to communism.”

Throughout his reading, he reminds his listeners that this is news from a capitalist press — expressing disgust over its slant or awe that an anti-establishment story would be covered — and adds that he interprets it as much as he can. Part of the interpretation draws parallels between someone in the news and their own situation. After describing the armed members of MOVE under siege within a house in Philadelphia for 12 months, he says, “That gives some point of what we could do if anyone was threatening our internal freedom here. We’ve certainly got a better capacity to resist, and more bodies and more arms, although we are not offensive in our design, we do not believe in violence… But we will protect our freedom. Obviously, we will fight for our freedom.”

The parallels between events in the news and the situation in Jonestown stretch past credible interpretation at times, though. Speaking about the efforts of Panamanian General Omar Torrijos to negotiate a favorable treaty with the U.S., Jones said the leader “did pull a crazy nigger tactic and said that he would die and his army would die and the people would die if they didn’t sign the Panamanian treaty, Ocause they were going to invade the Panama Canal the next morning, and it passed.”

Intermingled with the news are periodic reminders of problems going on inside the community. The tape was made shortly after the defection of Deborah Blakey (Layton), and although he admits the loss of a person with that much knowledge of Temple finances was a blow, the community would survive, because it is “1000 strong.” He then extols the virtues of Jonestown, both its beauty and the welfare which he provides them. In the next breath, though, he exhorts the workers to step up production.

The news that follows the break in the tape is that Kathy Hunter, the wife of a publisher of the Ukiah (California) Daily Journal, has been revealed to be part of the conspiracy, and the Guyana government has expelled her from the country. He congratulates the government for taking such a courageous act, even as he blasts Hunter for turning on them after he “had helped her through the years, visited her, many of my staff and myself have listened to her, hours and hours, in her drunken stupor.”

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription : 6/13/79

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 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 31, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-30. This tape was found to contain the following:

Reverend JIM JONES lectures to People’s Temple members on the subject of Marxism-Leninism. JONES also gave the news of the day.

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 : None

Tape originally posted April 1999