Q291 Summary

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FBI Catalogue Identified Individuals Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “Broadcast with Special Guest”

Date cues on tape: Late August/early September 1978, during Don Freed visit to Jonestown

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Robert Kennedy, assassinated U.S. Senator, presidential candidate

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI
Ethel & Julius Rosenberg, American communists and executed spies
Martin Luther King Jr.. assassinated civil rights leader
Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President Kennedy
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Frank Holloman, Memphis Director of Fire and Police (by reference)
Ed Reddick (phonetic), warrant officer in Memphis

Arthur Koestler, author
Norman Mailer, author
Wiliam Shakespeare

Donald Freed, author and screenwriter (speaks)
Mark Lane, Temple attorney

Jonestown residents:
Lee Ingram
Michael Prokes (speaks)
Harriet Tropp (speaks)
Richard Tropp (speaks)

Bible verses cited: None


(This tape was transcribed and summarized by Katherine Hill. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)

This tape consists of two brief interviews with author and playwright Donald Freed, who visited Jonestown in the company of Temple attorney Mark Lane in late August/early September 1978. Recorded for broadcast as part of a Peoples Temple radio show in Guyana, the interviews are conducted by Mike Prokes, Harriet Tropp, and Richard Tropp.
The first interview features Freed’s lengthy descriptions of his favorable impressions of Jonestown. Focusing primarily on ideology and dialectics, Freed says Jonestown has a transformative power over its residents. Those who were downtrodden and disenfranchised in the United States are able to rechannel their hate toward oppressors. Energy generated by hate translates into hard work. In essence, the hate is transformed into love because the results of the labor support everyone in the Jonestown community. Freed characterizes the work of Jonestown residents as “extremely sophisticated human behavior.” The first interview concludes with Freed listing a variety of projects that he is currently pursuing.

In the second interview, Freed compares Jonestown to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Resurrection City in Washington, D.C. Freed also echoes his interviewers who believe that there is a conspiracy to destroy Jonestown, and describes at some length what he has learned about the conspiracy behind Dr. King’s assassination. It is inevitable that social revolutionaries such as Dr. King and Jim Jones, and the movements they created, would be targets of organized conspiracies, Freed says, because many in the United States would see them as threats to the prevailing ideology.

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 1B93-36. This tape was found to contain the following:

A taped interview of DONALD FREED, during his visit to Jonestown.

FREED expresses his views on life in Jonestown.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted July 2011