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: Labeled in part “News Oct 21 1978”
Date cues on tape: Part I: October 1, 1978 Pope John Paul I died “Friday” 28 September 78; China’s communist revolution anniversary “today,” 1 Oct 78.
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Charles Diggs, U.S. Congressman, Democrat from Michigan
Pope John Paul I
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister
Hua Kuo-fenj, chairman of Chinese Communist Party
Hafez Al-Assad, President of Syria [by reference]
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Bishop Abel Muzorewa, leader of Zimbabwe independence
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Ahmed Sekou Toure, President of Guinea [by reference]
Lansana Beavogui, Prime Minister of Guinea [by reference]
Frank Rizzo, mayor of Philadelphia
Paul Gann, co-author of Proposition 13
Howard Jarvis, co-author of Proposition 13
Kim Il-sung, President of North Korea
Mark Lane, Temple attorney
Don Freed, Hollywood screenwriter sympathetic to Jonestown
Debby Layton Blakey
Harriet Sarah Tropp
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This tape has two separate parts, and Jim Jones may have recorded them on different days. In Part I, Jones reads the news of the day – with the items corresponding to events of October 1, 1978, rather than the October 21 notation on the tape box label – while in Part II, Jones speaks to the community about a serious invitation from the Soviet Union to emigrate to that country, and he appeals to his followers to make Jonestown attractive to Soviet visitors who are on their way to make that decision.
Part I begins with Jones reading an official statement of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev to a conference on racial discrimination. It is unclear whether Jones adds editorial asides, as he does when reading the news, or whether all of the language is from the statement.
Among the items Jones covers in the news:
• SALT talks between USSR Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State
• The 29th anniversary of the Communist revolution in China
• President Carter’s push for a full employment bill
• Carter’s endorsement of Andrew Young, his embattled Ambassador to the UN
• Arab states criticism of Camp David accords
• UN calls for Namibian independence
• Continued US support for Nicaragua
• The death of Pope John Paul I
• Micronesia’s appeal to the UN for independence
While Jones attributes quotes to the Voice of America more than any other news source during the broadcast, it is clear that most of the stories come from Soviet and Eastern Bloc outlets. The language is consistently anti-US and anti-Western “imperialist” interests, and at times even anti-Chinese. In marking China’s anniversary of the revolution that brought Mao Tse-Tung to power, for example, Jones describes it as a “so-called communist government.” As with Jones’ reading of the official Soviet statement leading the broadcast, it is sometimes difficult to know when the language of the news ends and Jones’ editorial aside begins.
Jones does make one comment about China which, by then, is quite familiar to the Jonestown community – “The Chinese are absolutely adamant in this policy of the inevitability and absoluteness of nuclear holocaust” – although he does not continue with China’s call (echoing his own) to get the war over with and let the survivors pick up the pieces. Similarly, the description of East Germany as “the only free part of Germany” is likely his own, as is his comment about American struggles to reduce unemployment. “This is great expectations for the capitalist system in constant decline,” he says.
His references to the Soviet Union as the “avant-garde of liberation” and descriptions of America’s allies as “lackeys” of US imperialism, terms often appropriated by Jones, likely comes from the news itself.
The newscast takes up most of the tape, but Part II is more significant. In it, Jones speaks more forcefully and specifically about taking the entire community to the Soviet Union than he does almost anyplace else. The Soviet Union is studying Jonestown as an example of how communism can truly work, and wants them to bring that model to the USSR. Towards that end, Jones urges his followers to “produce this project to the maximum” when the Soviet delegation arrives.
Jones repeats the call a few minutes later as he exhorts residents to keep up with the news and with Russian language lessons. “The Soviet Union has no desire for us to take long periods of time. They want us to speedily move forward, but they want us to produce this to the last hour as if it were a perfect model of communism, which in their minds it was.”
Absent from this message are warnings that the community might be broken up, or that he might not be able to continue as their leader, upon entry to the USSR. He also openly addresses the issue of race and prejudice. “They also are desirous to having black people in the Soviet Union because they’re tired of the ridiculous charges against them, there’s no large number of blacks in the Soviet Union. How could there be large numbers of black people in the Soviet Union when they never took slaves?”
Even as Jones describes the Soviets’ invitation as “warm,” he does not disparage where they are. They are happy to be in Guyana. The government still supports them. “We are without any pressure to move.” But the move to the Soviet Union would be a real opportunity for them.
The second part also includes Jones’ announcement that the Temple attorney Mark Lane has “squashed” some negative publicity from being printed in the National Enquirer. The weekly tabloid made the decision in response to Lane’s threatened multi-million dollar lawsuit.
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 June 1, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-47. This tape was found to contain the following:
News of the day and commentary by JAMES JONES. JONES speaks of administrative matters regarding Jonestown, i.e. (Bathrooms, cleaning of dishes.)
JONES speaks of possibly moving the community at Jonestown to the Soviet Union.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted March 2009