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 “10/1/78 Russian Guest”
Date cues on tape: October 2, 1978 (according to Raven, by Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs, p. 446)
Vladimir Ilich Lenin, father of the Russian Revolution
Karl Marx, German socialist, author of Das Kapital
Friedrich Engels, German socialist
Alexander Pushkin, Russian author
Feodor Timofeyev, Consul of Soviet Union embassy in Guyana (speaks)
Dr. Nikolai (first name unknown), Soviet doctor
Deanna Wilkinson (sings)
Bible verses cited: None
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
This tape includes Jonestown’s formal welcome of Feodor Timofeyev, the consul of Soviet Union embassy in Guyana and — as the book Raven points out — a man that Jim Jones wanted to cultivate in order to smooth the way for the community’s proposed move to the Soviet Union. The consular’s October 1978 visit had been months in the making, and Jones wanted to be sure that everyone in Jonestown could greet the Soviet visitor in the Russian language and knew enough Russian history to recognize important dates.
The tape opens with Deanna Wilkinson performing a song of protest — and some sorrow — of the U.S. government’s betrayal of its citizens. Jones then introduces Timofeyev by declaring Jonestown’s allegiance to the Soviet Union as their alternative to their own homeland. His first words of the evening are, “For many years, we have let our sympathies be quite publicly known, that the United States government was not our mother, but that the Soviet Union was our spiritual motherland.”
The community gives Timofeyev an enthusiastic welcome, and the Soviet consular is just as effusive in his praise for Jonestown, which he describes as “the first American socialist and … communist community.” He expresses his appreciation for the universal knowledge of some Soviet history by every resident he has met (thereby demonstrating the success of Jones’ recent exhortations). Later, he speaks approvingly of the exchange of views on health issues between the Russian doctor who accompanied the consular and the Jonestown clinic.
Timofeyev outlines the history of Soviet Russia, and praises the socialist states of Eastern Europe. To tremendous applause, he adds that the USSR will support national liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa, and across the African continent.
Timofeyev discusses the Soviet Union society of the present day, emphasizing its treatment of ethnic minorities. He notes that the country has 130 nationalities and cultures, and describes the challenge that diversity represents to all the people, a challenge, he adds, that they have met. He points out that Russia never imported slaves from the outside world, so didn’t have any African blacks throughout much of its history. Now there is a black population, but it is fully integrated into the culture. “So, there is no national discrimination, there is no racial discrimination in the Soviet Union.”
The groups of people in the USSR include a Jewish population, and Timofeyev takes pains to deny discrimination against Soviet Jewry. “In the opposite,” he declares in his modest English, look at the Jewish influence and presence in their sciences, in their academia, and in their professions. The United States is the first to attack the Soviet Union on this issue, Timofeyev says, but it should clean up its own house first before it goes around criticizing others. (Jones later affirms Timofeyev’s claims and his rebuke to the U.S.)
The USSR is not perfect, Timofeyev acknowledges, but they have systems of self-criticism as they struggle to improve their society.
Timofeyev closes with congratulations to the Jonestown community for its past successes, and best wishes for the future.
Jones returns to the microphone to say he has received new words of assurance from their visitors. Although he is not at liberty to quote the exact words, he says Timofeyev “gave me more peace than ever before. I know after I heard his words, I didn’t need to worry about my family, Jonestown, any more.” The inference is that the community would have a home in the Soviet Union if things fell apart in Guyana, an inference which a woman reminds Jones of during the Jonestown’s final day, six weeks after this tape was made.
Jones leads a repetitious song of commitment to communism and — by extension — to the Soviet Union. As the tape draws to a close, he asks his followers to give Timofeyev a hearty salute from “Jonestown, Soviet Union,” an address he then repeats.
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 2, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-86. This tape was found to contain the following:
JAMES JONES introduces guest of honor, the Counselor [Consular] and Chief of Press of the Soviet Embassy in Guyana. JONES states that the US is not our mother, but that the Soviet Union is our spiritual mother.
The Soviet counselor makes a short speech in English, and praises JONES and Jonestown for their socialist and communist effort.
JONES leads group in singing of Russian and pro-communist songs. JONES concludes by saying Jonestown is totally committed to the Soviet Union, and refers to Jonestown, USSR.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted September 2003