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 “16 Sept 78 Sat News”
Date cues on tape: Around September 10, 1978 (much of the news which Jim Jones reads on this tape is datelined September 9)
Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Augusto Pinochet, President of Chile
Salvador Allende, deposed president of Chile
Anastasio Somoza, President of Nicaragua
Rodrigo Pantiagua, general secretary, Nicaragua General Confederation of Labor
Gonzalez Altarbalany [phonetic], leader of the National Action Party, Mexico
Rafael Auguilar Talmantesty [phonetic], leader of the Party of Socialist Workers, Mexico
Leonid Brezhnev, President of USSR
Urho F. Kekkonen, President of Finland (by reference)
Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, deposed president of Pakistan
Jimmy Carter, U.S. president
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark
Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon whistleblower
Henry Winston, Chairman, Communist Party USA
Gus Hall, General Secretary, Communist Party USA
Victor Jara, Chilean poet and singer
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Michael Bellefountaine. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
Jim Jones reads the news of the day. The stories include:
• Miners’ strikes in Peru and Chile;
• A message of support from the Communist Party USA to Hanoi;
• Worker unrest at a banana plantation in Costa Rica;
• The neutron bomb;
• Peace zones in Europe, and Yugoslavia’s views on world peace;
• Unrest in Nicaragua;
• A friendship pact among Guyana, Surinam, Brazil, and Venezuela;
• CIA activities in Mexico;
• Political prisoners in Israel; and
• The trial of a deposed President in Pakistan.
Jones uses a Soviet new service as his source. The United States receives regular criticism, but so does China, which has had a longer history of disputes with Russia. Jones often adds his own editorial comments as he reads the news, changing from a newscaster’s voice into one more familiar to the Jonestown community. After reporting on the solidarity behind the miners’ strike in Peru, for example, he notes that it “makes one proud to be a member of the working class.” Later, in talking about the U.S. support for a Central American dictator who is killing civilian populations as he battles insurgents, he says with some sarcasm, “I thought the United States these days were talking much about human rights, and how they were going to uphold human rights… I guess US is no longer even shamefaced about the kind of support she gives to nations that don’t stand up for individual liberty.”
The nature of the news gives Jones an opportunity to return to one of his standard themes and greatest fears: the inevitability of nuclear war. He follows up a grim assessment of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank by quoting a BBC reporter that “the Near East could lead to nuclear war at any time.” After asking the people of Jonestown to write world leaders in support of peace, he adds, “There is no future for man in an atomic holocaust.” A few moments later, after reporting on a proposed zone of peace in Europe, Jones comments, “So many of the Soviet scientists and American scientists feel that nuclear war is so certain, they don’t talk … if, they talk when.” As for the zones of peace, he says, “If that gives you any real satisfaction, it doesn’t do much for me.”
Jones makes several references to his fatigue, to the fact that he has been up for several days and nights, and – as he says near the beginning of the tape – “I think I’m showing the effect of it.” Later, in apologizing for what may be coming across as slurred speech, he points out that it is not a result of drinking, then adds, “Unfortunately there would be no liquor about, ha ha, if one wanted to drink.”
In the midst of reading the news, Jones reminds people to work hard to produce the lands, and asks the workers who are manufacturing small dolls for sale in Georgetown to “do your best and as fast as possible.” The dolls bring in much-needed income, he says, but the money goes out just as quickly. He talks about the health care costs for the community, but doesn’t begrudge the expenditure. On the contrary, as he says, “I am absolutely determined that you will have always at your fingertips the very best of medicine.”
Along the way, Jones makes several comments – some more oblique than others – of his desire to be back in the U.S. and part of the political fray. In the most direct statement, he talks about a man about to go to jail for his political beliefs, and adds, “oh, my God, how my soul desires to be in that struggle.”
The news ends with a note of thanks and wishes for peace. He speaks about the beauty of their home, and the concerns they had in the U.S. that they no longer have. His tone is quiet as he tells them, “One day we shall be glad that people will learn to live in peace.”
Date of transcription: 6/22/79
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 31, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-31. This tape was found to contain the following:
A lecture by JIM JONES on the conditions of the world caused by capitalism.
Differences with FBI Summary:
This is like many other tapes to emerge from Jonestown – a reading of the daily news to the people of Jonestown rather than a lecture on any one single subject – and there is no discernible reason for this tape being among the 53 which were originally withheld from disclosure.
Tape originally posted May 2004