Q397 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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FBI Catalogue: Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “Aug. 21 Mon.”

Date cues on tape: News items from August 7 and 8, 1978

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

President Jimmy Carter
Former President John F. Kennedy
Former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas)
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)
Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona)
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) (by reference)
Sen. John Stennis (D-Mississippi)

Agostinho Neto, President of Angola
Jonas Savimbi, leader of UNITA, Angolan resistance group
Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire
Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister

General Juan Alberto Melgar, former President of Honduras
General Policarpo Paz García, President of Honduras

Adolf Hitler
Kurt Lischka, Nazi Gestapo chief in wartime Paris

Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco newspaper publisher, physician
Don Freed, author and playwright (by reference)
Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia Mayor
Martin Luther King, slain civil rights leader
Reverend Ben Chavis, leader of Wilmington 10
Natan Sharansky, convicted Soviet spy
Philip Agee, ex-CIA agent

Bible verses cited:None


This tape consists of the news of the day read by Jim Jones. While the note on the tape box says the tape is from August 21, 1978, the news items are from August 7 or 8.

As with many newscasts, Jones seems to rely upon Soviet or Eastern bloc news sources. The items themselves focus on more international news than most Americans are used to, especially in their coverage of Central America, Africa and Eastern bloc countries.

The origin of the news services likely accounts for much of the use of adjectives in describing US or Western European interests. Their actions are uniformly “barbaric,” “insane” and “criminal,” their support of foreign nations is driven by fascist or racist impulses, and the nations themselves are lackey capitalist puppets of Western imperialism.

Other editorial interjections likely come from Jones himself. The four nations which did not support UN sanctions on the “apartheid concentration camp nation” of South Africa were the United States and three European allies, and after a brief pause, Jones adds “they didn’t go for it, of course.”

One comment which undoubtedly originates with Jones was his characterization of U.S. Sen. John Stennis (D-Mississippi) as “where our conspiracy began.” The reference is to an event in Peoples Temple history in which members of the church caught two men eavesdropping on a service featuring a black woman mayor from Mississippi. The men were traced to an electronics wing at Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and had connections to Stennis’ office.

Among the topics covered in the news:

      • Counter-revolutionary leader arrested in Zaire
      • People gather to remember Hiroshima victims
      • NATO conducts war games off Portugal’s coast
      • A coup overthrows the president in Honduras
      • The British increase their occupational force in Northern Ireland
      • Letter bombs are mailed to leftists in London
      • China and Chile forge an economic pact
      • A former Nazi is charged with murder of 33,000 Jews in wartime France
      • Congress blocks home rule for DC
      • A former CIA agent seeks to unmask all US intelligence officers
      • Jobless rates for blacks go up
      • Philadelphia police attack MOVE house

The tape closes in a familiar fashion, with Jones’ exhorting Jonestown residents to work hard to produce the land so that they might bring more people from the US to liberation in Guyana. He also reiterates how much recent visitors have been impressed with what they saw. As always, his final words are of love to the community.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/26/79

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 5, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B100-5. This tape was found to contain the following:

News of the day and commentary by JIM JONES.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted January 2012