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 “SAT Oct 21 SUN Oct 22”
Date cues on tape: Specific references to “Saturday” and to “Sunday, October 22”
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Harold Brown, U.S. Secretary of Defense
Harold Saunders, US envoy to Israeli-Egypt talks
Richard Helms, CIA intelligence director
Joseph Califano, US Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
Pope John Paul II [by reference]
Moise Dayan, Israeli Foreign Minister
Ezer Weizman, Israeli Defense Minister
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Mohammed Siad Barre, President of Somalia [by reference]
Gaafar Muhammad Nimeiry, President of Sudan [by reference]
Salim al-Hoss, Prime Minister of Lebanon [by reference]
Elias Sarkis, President of Lebanon [by reference]
Hafez Al-Assad, President of Syria [by reference]
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Salvador Allende, former president of Chile
Sunny Ogle, head of Guyana cultural program [by reference]
Commander Price, Guyanese military leader friendly to Jones
Charles Horman, U.S. journalist killed in Chilean coup of 1973
Frank Teruggi, U.S. journalist killed in Chilean coup of 1973
Thomas Hauser, author of book on Horman
Rafael Gonzalez, Chilean Army Intelligence Officer quoted in Hauser book
Chief General Augusto Lutz, Army Intelligence officer in Chile
Dr. Ralph W. Morris, University of Illinois Medical Center
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Kay (likely Nelson, could be Rosas)
Rebecca (likely Beikman, could be Flowers)
Ujara Sly, aka Don Sly
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Made over the course of two days in late October 1978, this tape has several separate segments, although the pauses between them – and the difference in Jim Jones’ tone when he starts up again – may be a matter of minutes rather than extended periods of time. All of them appear to be as separate messages, however, since they all end with Jones’ usual farewell of thanks and love.
Although there is some overlap among the sections, there are three distinct subjects which Jones covers: He reads letters from people in Jonestown in Part I; Part II is a reading of the news; and Parts III through V consist of a series of announcements with instructions, warnings, and promises before a guest from a Guyana cultural ministry arrives.
The majority of Part I focuses on several letters of confession, appreciation, or suggestions which Jones has received in from community members. In one, a resident recommends relieving a teacher of his classroom responsibilities, because the teacher is a sex addict and has had problems working around children. The writer admits to having been a drug addict once herself until the Temple saved her, and recognizing the difficulty which the young man faces. Jones describes the letter as honest and refreshing, and concurs with the recommendation.
Other letters report on progress with the problems in Jonestown’s wells, express gratitude for helping a broken leg heal as quickly as it did, and warn people who plan to cross the border into Venezuela about the mortal dangers facing them.
The section ends with the announcement that the following day – Sunday – will be a half day of work, although Jones follows it with a request to spend the balance of the day “beautifying the area” in anticipation of the arrival of important guests. As he does elsewhere, Jones acknowledges that he does not want to schedule days off very far in advance.
In Part II, Jim Jones reads the news. Among the items he covers:
. Camp David talks suspended while negotiators get new instructions
. Arab leaders gather to discuss Camp David, and foreign ministers negotiate for peace in Lebanon
. Cyrus Vance goes to Moscow for talks on strategic arms
. Somalia urges Cuba and the USSR to change policies
. Student unrest in Iran
. Greece petitions to join EEC
. Proposition 13 fever may sweep US
. A new book profiles an American journalist slain by Chile’s military junta during the coup
. Federal study reveals carcinogens in workplace
. Microwave radiation may cause cancer and create many other health issues.
As is the case with most of the newscasts in Jonestown, Jones mixes in commentary of his own along with the news, which comes principally from Soviet and Eastern Bloc sources. The item on the Somali criticism of Cuba and the USSR, for example, continues with a criticism of Somalia in terms which are familiar by now to Jonestown: “The Somalian leader . praised the United States, Western Europe and China for giving his country economic aid in his imperialist expansionist designs on Ethiopia. [The] United States representative at the ceremony said he expects to discuss the possibility of military intervention and aid to Somalia in their aggressive design on … Eritrea.”
Even Jones’ choice of items to report depends upon lessons he wishes to press upon his followers. Less than a week after issuing lengthy instructions, which include a warning about the changes in behavior during a full moon, he reads an item about a scientific study which concludes, “Full moon may help medical doctors to predict coronary.” Jones agrees with language almost identical to his week-old instructions. “[B]eing that we’re made of ninety-eight percent water, much does occur that affects us.”
The section ends with several themes which are carried through the last three parts, comprising the last quarter of the tape. A local Amerindian boy was bitten by a poisonous snake, but the medical staff in Jonestown has reduced the swelling and saved the child’s life. Jones repeats the news several times in reminding people that, even though they’ve never had snakes in Jonestown, they should still be on the lookout. He also lauds the medical staff for treating up to 300 people from surrounding areas each week, including the Amerindian boy.
Jones reiterates the need to beautify Jonestown for the incoming guests, and to continue to work on the various projects which bring in money. He is especially hopeful about the doll-making enterprise, which has a distributor who “has promised to buy every one we make.” And they need the money, he says, not only for themselves but to support the medical clinic.
The issue of money arises again near the end of the tape when he thanks the visiting doctors who have given eye examinations to Jonestown’s residents. The exams may have been donated – “The doctors are trying to be helpful for us. We’re so grateful to these wonderful gentlemen who understand what freedom’s about and yet have a humanitarian concern” – but the glasses they prescribe are not. He does not begrudge the glasses, but he demands that people be responsible for them. “It’s not fair to lose the expensive glasses . in a cooperative arrangement, where everything is provided, free medicine, free dental care, free everything.”
Date of transcription: 6/20/79
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 1B93-66. This tape was found to contain the following:
News of the day and commentary by JAMES JONES, on current events of October 22.
JONES speaks of administrative concerns regarding Jonestown (i.e. a. Removal of a teacher because he is a sexual addict. b. JONES states that he is a drug addict. c. Water report – a sulphur problem
Differences with FBI Summary:
There is one correction: Jones’ statement about being a drug addict comes from a letter to him from Teresa King. In addition, the summary seems to be based upon the first five minutes of tape rather than a complete hearing. Otherwise, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2009