Q289 Summary

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 “Thurs News 10/5/78”

Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with note

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Sen. James Abourzek (D-South Dakota)
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State


Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Anastasio Somoza Debayle, President of Nicaragua
Carlos Andrés Pérez, president of Venezuela
Rafael Antonio Caldera, former president of Venezuela
Raúl Leoni, former president of Venezuela
Julio César Turbay Ayala, president of Colombia [by reference]
Santiago Roel García, Mexican foreign minister [by reference]Adolf Hitler
Álvaro Cunhal, secretary-general of Portuguese Communist Party (PCP)
Mário Soares, former Socialist prime minister of Portugal
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Pope John Paul I

Pahlavi Reva, Shah of Iran
Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Foreign Minister of Egypt [by reference]
Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization
Mohammed Siad Barre, President of Somalia
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia
Pieter Willem Botha, South African Prime Minister

Zdenek Cervenka, author of Nuclear Axis
Barbara Rogers, author of Nuclear Axis
Donald Soul (phonetic), South African ambassador to West Germany
John Vorster, former South African Prime Minister
Hendrik Johan van den Bergh, head of South Africa’s Bureau of State Security
Willy Brandt, former West German Chancellor
Helmut Schmidt, West German Chancellor
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, West German Foreign Minister
Gerhard Eppler, West German Minister for Developing Aid
Werner Maihoser, West German Minister of Interior
Hans-Hilger Haunschild, West German State Secretary
Detlev Rohwedder, West German State Secretary

Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia

Basset Charlie Aiden [phonetic], American artist


Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Debbie Layton BlakeyJonestown residents:
Geraldine Bailey
Tom Grubbs
Penny Kerns
Eva Pugh
Rose Shelton
Joyce Touchette
Mary Tschetter


Bible verses cited: None


(Note: This tape was transcribed by Sarabeth Trujillo. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)

The bulk of this tape consists of Jim Jones reading the news of the day from October 5, 1978 in Jonestown, but the most significant part of the recording is in the last 15 minutes, when Jones returns to the microphone numerous times – first with increasing stridency, then with a flattening lethargy – to complain that someone has attempted to poison his food. He has avoided the most severe effects of the assault because he didn’t eat all of the food, even though both he and an unnamed nurse became ill. He tries to determine who is behind the scheme – at one point, it seems he will discern the culprit by looking at pictures of Jonestown residents – and his threats become more dire. “You better quit trying to poison me,” he warns, “because I will be here to see you die by normal means. You’ll just die. Death process will take over, and it’ll be you that will be put six foot under, by your own thoughts, minds, and attitudes, by touching the anointed.”

He acknowledges more than once that people feel hostile towards him, and says that it “comes towards me for having to be the driving force for your freedom.” He asks for more gratitude for himself, more appreciation for what he does for them, a recognition of how much he loves everyone there. “Try hard,” he pleads. “Try hard to think of some reasons to be grateful, instead of always in your states of apprehension and hostility.”

The segments following the news also include announcements of increasingly draconian surveillance of people, to make sure they continue the production of the land. Jones describes the function of the “work observers” late in the tape: “There are more observers today, and believe me, there will be names taken – plenty of them – because we have increased our observer staff by at least double… It won’t be somebody just walking that you think you know. It’ll be someone you don’t know.”

He defends his decision by holding out the carrot of a move to the USSR, where there is more room and additional benefits that Guyana cannot provide. But granting permission to allow Peoples Temple into the Soviet Union comes with a price: “let us work hard. That was one request they made, that we study their constitution well, their language and to work hard, work very hard here, extra hours, to build this project to the very, very best we can.”

He also wants people to do better on the tests – language, Soviet and Guyana history, news – and says people need to pay attention when he reads the news, because they are responsible for its content. “I would advise that you listen, because the test will be more severe this time. To shut me out will be only to hurt yourself and require five extra classes.”

The reading of the news takes up the bulk of the tape. As is the case in other tapes, Jones adds periodic editorial comments. Some obviously come from him, as when he pauses to describe the US arms shipments going to the South African regime as being financed by US tax dollars, and adds, “much to our sorrow.” At another point, he praises a US Senator for decrying the Camp David accords, and concludes, “Bravo to such courage.” At other points, however, it is hard to determine whether the use of such adjectives as “fascist,” “imperialist,” “monopoly capitalist,” and “dictatorial,” comes from him or from the news copy he’s reading from, since – as in other newscasts – he relies heavily upon Soviet and East European wire services for his information.

Among the news stories which Jones reads:

• Zimbabwe leaders agree that the Rhodesian government can be overthrown only by force;
• Arab states call for a rejection of Camp David accords;
• Dockworkers strike in Australia;
• Somalia executes participants in failed military coup;
• Portugal celebrates a communist-inspired festival;
• Parisians demonstrate against the Shah of Iran;
• Two Yemeni republics seek peace and resolution to differences;
• OAS and four Latin American countries call for investigation of human rights violations in Nicaragua;
• Vietnam protests Chinese incursion;
• USSR celebrates the first anniversary of a new constitution;
• USSR makes advances in microsurgery;
• The Union of South Africa and SWAPO try to counter each other’s moves;
•The price of gold reaches a record, and US currency drops;
• A communist-based economic alliance meets in Mongolia;
• Beirut is shelled;
• Pope John Paul I is buried;
• The Washington Post reports on CIA and FBI surveillance of American citizens;
• Carter lifts the US arms embargo ion Turkey;
• Venezuela and Guyana renegotiate a loan, discuss border issues.


Two of the stories do elicit a direct response from Jones. After reading about the anniversary of the Soviet constitution, he suggests that the Jonestown community draft a communiqué “and send it in to the embassy, showing our deep and abiding loyalty to the USSR for being the avant garde of liberation all throughout Africa and the world.” After reading about the death of Pope John Paul – whose tenure lasted 33 days – Jones comments wryly, “Seems that God is having difficulty keeping his popes alive these days.”

Jones follows the news with a review of a new book on a nuclear deal between West Germany and the Union of South Africa that would enable the racist Pretoria government to procure the bomb.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/13/79

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 1B93-34. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES reading news, commentary, and announcements.

Differences with FBI Summary:

The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted January 2011