Q398 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 “Tues Aug 29 News”

Date cues on tape: News items consistent with note on tape box

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

President Jimmy Carter
Former President Gerald Ford (by reference)
Former President Richard Nixon
Former President John F. Kennedy (by reference)
Former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (by reference)
Sen. James Abourezk (D-South Dakota)
Sen. George McGovern (D-South Dakota)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)

Rep. Charles C. Diggs (D-Michican)
Rep. William Clay (D-Missouri)
Rep. Ralph H. Metcalfe (D-Illinois)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York)
Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio)
Former Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D-New York)

Jerry Brown, Governor of California

H.R. Haldeman, Chief of Staff to Richard Nixon
John Ehrlichman, domestic adviser to Richard Nixon
John Dean, counsel for Richard Nixon
Andrew Young, US Ambassador to UN
William Colby, Former CIA head
Pat Nixon, wife of Richard Nixon (by reference)

Adolf Hitler
Pope John Paul I
Alfredo Jorge Nobre da Costa, prime minister of Portugal

Hua Kuo-fenj, chairman of Chinese Communist Party
Ferdinand Marcos, president of Philippines
Imelda Marcos, wife of Ferdinand Marcos (by reference)

Anastasio Somoza Debayle, President of Nicaragua
Mario Tapia, Mexican Consul General

Sidney Wolfe, founder of Health Research Group, Ralph Nader-related organization
Ed Mulligan, hospital patient in Syracuse, NY
Benjamin L. Abruzzo, captain of the balloon Double Eagle (by reference)
Arlene Blum, pioneer female American mountaineer
Francis Jay Crawford, American corporate executive imprisoned in USSR
Robert Shaw, actor
Ron Ridenour, editor of Los Angeles Free Press
Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler
Althea Flynt, wife of Larry Flynt
Ed Davis, Los Angeles Police Department chief
Martin Luther King, slain civil rights leader
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King
Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter on Watergate story
Carl Bernstein, Washington Post reporter on Watergate story
Theodore White, author, biographer of several presidents
Robben Wright Fleming, president of University of Michigan (by reference)
Fred Hampton, Black Panther killed by police in 1969
Mark Clark, Black Panther killed by police in 1969
Anatoly Karpov, Soviet chess champion

Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco newspaper publisher, physician
Don Freed, author and playwright
Joe Mazor, private detective

Jonestown resident:

Ralph Jackson

Bible verses cited: None


This tape consists of the news of the day read by Jim Jones.

As with many newscasts, Jones seems to rely most heavily upon Soviet or Eastern bloc news sources, although he quotes other sources such as BBC and Voice of America as well. 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 Soviet-oriented news services likely accounts for much of the use of adjectives in describing US or Western European countries. Their interests are pursued “falsely and aggressively,” their support of foreign nations is driven by “dreaded fascist” or racist impulses, and the nations themselves are “capitalist lackeys of Western imperialism.”

The Soviet bent is especially apparent in stories involving either the USSR or its main adversary, China. One item on the visit of Chinese leaders to Iran suggests that it is an attempt “to influence one of the oil-rich nations of OPEC out of the Second World into the Third World for Chinese purposes. The Soviet Union calls the Chinese efforts a threat to the world peace.”

There are five extended news stories upon which Jones dwells – Americans access to their own health records; the plague of locusts devastating crops in Africa, Asia Minor and South Asia; the publication of the last edition of The Los Angeles Free Press; the assertion of the Congressional Black Caucus that there is a conspiracy against leaders of people of color; and the CIA’s belief that the growing population of Mexico represents the next threat to the United States – and Jones offers his own editorial comment (and additional facts not necessarily included in the original news coverage) on all of them. On the locust story, for example, he points out that their infestation may not be a complete accident: “it’s thought that this may be some of geo-physical warfare, because it’s affecting nations that have not been pro-USA.” More significantly on this story is its deeper lesson for the people of Jonestown that the destruction caused by the locusts, and the starvation and deprivation that they bring, “certainly prov[es] there’s no loving deity in the universe.”

Jones also reports on some of the less important news of the day – the hero’s welcome given to trans-Atlantic balloonists, and the attempt by a team of American women mountain climbers to scale the highest peaks in the Himalayas – even as he belittles them. “This is what capitalism does to divert people when there are serious difficulties in their system, to have this kind of damn stuff in the news,” he says. “I would be glad to hear that some American women had gone to the ghettoes and done something about the starving children and the ones dying of lead poisoning … but no such news, of course.”

Some news items are unknown in their origin. The report, for example, that the governor of California said there would be a second revolution in the US – one launched by whites who “are tired of supporting people who do not want to work” – and that he would support the effort is unique to Jones. He nevertheless can find a lesson for the people of Jonestown in it: “we’ve always known, you can’t trust liberals. Remember the main enemies of socialism? Anarchism, Trotskyism, revisionism, and don’t forget that enemy, social democrat.”

Other news items covered in this newscast:

• Egypt believes peace in the Middle East can be found only with US assistance
• Portugal has a new cabinet
• Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos says human rights issue is “new moral imperialism”
• Cambodian human rights records comes under attack by Swiss conference and US Senator
• Pope John Paul I will keep many leaders of previous papacy
• Prices increase “all through the capitalist world”
• Eritrea and Ethiopia battle over key cities
• US postal strike delayed
• Nicaraguan coup aborted
• American arrested in USSR for currency violations
• Uranium and coal deposits located on Indian land lead to abrogation of treaties
• Babies sold on American black-market (referred to in the Temple argot as “white market”)
• Black suicide rate rises
• Actor Robert Shaw dies
• Soviet chess master accused of hypnotizing opponents

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 repeatedly reminds them of 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 1B100-6. 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