Q323 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 “Nov 11, 78 SAT News”

Date cues on tape: November 9-11, 1978 (specific)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
W.E.B. Dubois, black scholar
Vladimir Lenin
Paul Robeson
Malcolm X
Martin Luther King
Angola President Agostinho Neto
Chilean President Augusto Pinochet
Former Chilean President Dr. Salvador Allende
Ghana’s head of state, Lieutenant General Fred Akuffo
Indian leader Indira Gandhi
Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Mosaddegh, former Iranian premier, by reference
Iranian exile leader Ayatollah Khomeini
Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro
Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Khadafy
Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith
Rhodesian Bishop Abel Muzorewa
South African activist Steve Biko
Tanzania President Julius Nyerere
Uganda President Idi Amin
Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko
Zaire former Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba
Zambia President Kenneth Kaunda
President Jimmy Carter
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance
Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA)
Sen. Dick Clark (D-IA)
Sen.-elect Paul Tsongas (D-MA) (by reference)
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA)
California Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally
San Francisco housing authority director Walter Scott

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Mike Cartmell
Steven Katsaris, member of Concerned Relatives, father of Maria Katsaris

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
“Klingman child” (several died in Jonestown)
Teresa (many in Jonestown)

Jonestown residents:
Richard Tropp

Bible verses cited: None


(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)

This tape consists of several sections, all of which seem to have been recorded on Thursday, November 9, through Saturday, November 11, 1978. Jim Jones broadcasts the news, but as the tape continues, he adds more and more about the impending visit of Leo Ryan and his party. The last section dispenses with the news altogether, in favor of warnings.

As with many newscasts, Jones seems to rely upon Soviet or Eastern bloc news sources. Most of the international news items speak of “liberation struggles” and “black nationalist” movements, rather than referring to them as “guerrillas” or “rebels” or “insurgents.” The items themselves focus on more international news than most Americans are used to, especially in their coverage of Cuba, Africa and Eastern bloc countries. In addition, the editorial comment that laces through the news ­ when not that of Jones ­ speaks of the bravery of the liberation forces. Jones does add his own comments, though, putting stories in the context of object lessons for the people of Jonestown, as well as his own apocalyptic worldview which will finds its final voice within a week of the tape’s last message.

As an example, he speaks of the striking government workers in Ghana, who, he says, risk imprisonment through their actions. He then adds, “Many of you still have not come to terms, as I said, with imprisonment, or death.” After listing the number of political martyrs who have died, he concludes his aside with: “I cannot think that I am above these people, so I am prepared for anything today or tomorrow might bring.” He also describes the problems that other people in the world face, as crises which the people of Jonestown have never known.

Also as with many of these newscasts, Jones presents the news in a “rip and read” style, that is, taking the stories directly from the wire service, and adding later bulletins as they arrive.

The stories include:

o Recent U.S. elections, the defeat of several blacks in Congress, and other right-wing ramifications
o Ghana’s state of emergency, a subject to which he returns
o Terrorist attacks in Italy
o The return of Indira Gandhi to India
o The Ugandan-Tanzanian conflict
o Unrest in Iran, and later, Iranian dissidents
o Israeli-Egyptian peace talks

o The involvement of the Union of South Africa against the Zambian struggle for freedom
o Aid to Zaire
o Famine in Ethiopia
o An explosion in Angola
o Fighting in Chad
o The “disappeared” in Chile

During the broadcast of November 10, Jones reminds the people of Jonestown that they are in a state of siege. Ryan ­ himself a fascist and a supporter of Chile’s president Pinochet ­ is bringing a party of racists to the community. Temple leaders had hoped they would get more cooperation from the Guyana government, but they hadn’t. In addition to their enemies coming by plane, “there’s still persistent rumor from our reliable infiltrators that they are planning to come in secretly up river.” As a consequence of the “onslaught of a direct move of a mercenary fascist effort of the United States of America,” Jones urges his followers to forget their “little differences and … deprivations,” and unify.

He returns to this theme on the news broadcast that seems to have been made the next day. Following the latest news about Chile, Jones says that this is the regime which Ryan supports, and that Ryan and 40 ex-members and relatives are coming, “as a so-called liberation effort for us from socialism, if necessary, by killing us to free us… We are in a battle, and that battle is never easy, and we must be prepared to give all, and do not think that these people coming have any mercy left in them.”

When Jones doesn’t speak of death as the final defense, he speaks of their inability to return to the United States, a racist country that is killing its minorities. “This is a picture that has not clearly enough come home to many of you, who are citizens of Jonestown, that USA is an imperialist cancer.”

The final section of the tape is “perhaps one of the most important announcements you have ever heard.” Speaking in an initially weary voice, Jones first speaks of the proof that the CIA is backing the Concerned Relatives and Leo Ryan. He repeats several times that members of the Ryan party might kill anyone who approaches them, no matter how friendly the visitors might seem on the surface. He describes the arriving party as vicious and paranoid who are intent on destroying them. He warns that “there may be even hired mercenaries coming in also,” and reminds them that the plane that flew low over Jonestown the day before was looking to locate Jones for an attempted kidnapping. He also reiterates their sense of isolation by saying, he doesn’t know how the Guyana government will respond.

As he did in earlier segments of the tape, when Jones doesn’t speak of the need “stay inside the community circle,” he reminds the people that the U.S. is no longer home, that his predictions of what would happen to minorities has come to pass. The pieces that people think they miss represent “the sick side of you,” those sides more concerned about creature comforts and parties and music than in socialism.

As the tape concludes, he summarizes his admonitions: “I wanted to warn you again and again and again, to be together with the community, to stay in the sight of the community, do not leave the central area, do not get away from this circle of protection, because they would not hesitate [to kill you.]”

FBI Summary: 

Date of transcription: 7/11/79

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 3, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-64. This tape was found to contain the following:

JAMES JONES reading and commentary of the news of the day on Thursday and Friday, November 9 and 10, 1978.

JONES states the community is under siege starting on Tuesday when the visitors arrive. Congressman RYAN has voted as a racist and a fascist, and the community is under an onslaught of a fascist American plot.

JONES states that only if you are prepared to die for what you believe in are you prepared to live for it.

JONES told members of the community to stay in the central area of the compound, as they might be killed by infiltrators.

JONES made the following points about visitors:

1. Ex-members are funded by and connected with the CIA.

2. These people will kill you if you went up to them.

3. There may even be hired mercenaries, who will kill you if you move towards them.

4. They are coming here to destroy Jonestown.

5. No matter how friendly they seem, do not go near them.

6. The airplane that flew over yesterday was trying to locate me and kidnap me.

7. We are under attack by mercenaries, stay together.

8. They have tried to kill one of my sons.

9. Some will have guns, you will not find safety by going to them.

10. Do not trust them.

Differences with FBI Summary: 

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

Tape originally posted July 2001