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FBI Catalogue Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “Rally 10/2/78”
Date cues on tape:
President Jimmy Carter (by reference)
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor for Carter
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Josef Stalin, Soviet dictator
Alexander Pushkin, Russian poet/author
Huang Hua, Foreign Minister of China (by reference)
Kim Il-sung, leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of KoreaAnastasio Somoza, leader of Nicaragua
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana (by reference)
Harry Harewood, news broadcaster for Radio Demerara in Guyana
Frank Rizzo, mayor of Philadelphia
Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, Defense Department analyst who leaked Pentagon Papers
Albert Kahn, author/journalist
Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy
Paul Robeson, singer/actor
Paul Gann, co-author of Proposition 13
Howard Jarvis, co-author of Proposition 13
Angela Davis, professor, activist
Huey Newton, Black Panther Party leader
James Thurman Jones (by reference)
Fred P. Furth, attorney, financial supporter of individual Temple member
Charles Garry, Temple attorney
Mark Lane, Temple attorney, author of Rush to Judgment
Gordon Lindsay, reporter for National Enquirer (by reference)
Carl Blackman, reporter for Guyana Chronicle
Debby Layton BlakeyCoded names:
Mrs. White (likely code for “final White Night”)
Temple member not in Jonestown:
John Head (died in 1975) (by reference)
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Christine (numerous in Jonestown, likely Lucientes or Talley)
Jack (probably Beam, could be Barron) (speaks)
Mark (several in Jonestown)
Jonestown’s Moms Mabley
Unnamed “Indian Chief” (possibly Jose Simon)
Johnny Moss Brown
James Edwards, aka Reb
David “Pop” Jackson
Luvenia “Mom” Jackson
Lynetta Jones (by reference)
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Rosa Lee Peterson
Deanna Wilkinson (by reference)
Bible verses cited: “We should give honor to whom honor is due.” (Romans 13:7, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”)
Reference to Samson’s long hair and in the temple (Judges 16)
Reference to Pilate washing his hands (Matthew 27:24)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Katherine Hill. She also prepared this summary. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This is a recording of a Peoples Rally in Jonestown immediately after the departure of Feodor Timofeyev, a Russian dignitary. The tape begins with Jim Jones asking questions on current news items – and lengthy pauses as Jonestown residents write their answers – but he frequently digresses to the topic of Timofeyev’s visit. In general, Jones paints a positive picture of the visit and describes many ways in which Timofeyev was impressed with the community. In particular, Jones reports that Timofeyev called Jonestown a “model of pure communism” because there is no monetary system. Jones reports that the Russian has given approval for the community to relocate to Russia, where they will have free housing, medical and dental care, education, utilities, and telephones. Foremost, however, are statements that Timofeyev guaranteed that any act of aggression against Jonestown would be considered an act of aggression against Russia.
This tape includes a mention of a special code that the Russians would use to contact Jonestown in the event of a crisis, such as a U.S. invasion of Guyana or Jonestown. It is likely to this “guarantee” that Christine Miller refers in her dissenting opinion on revolutionary suicide on FBI tape Q042. Jones also states that he had hoped to be able to take $30,000,000 with them to Russia, but Timofeyev assured him that the Russians are not interested in their money. Instead, they are interested in Peoples Temple because they are true communists. Jones reports that Timofeyev suggested that the move to Russia could be accomplished in as little as nine months. Once Temple members are in Russia, they are assured that outsiders – especially Concerned Relatives and U.S. government officials – would not be allowed on the grounds of their new commune. All inquiries into the well-being of Temple members would be handled by Russian. In essence, Jones depicts Russia as fulfilling all of the community’s desires and needs.
Despite Timofeyev’s praises, there are conditions which need to be met in order for the move to occur. Jonestown residents will need to learn to read and write at least some Russian. To encourage learning the language, Jones suggests an immersion system in which only Russian will be spoken for two weeks. Residents will be required to say something in Russian in order to obtain their meals. Temple members will also need to learn the Soviet constitution, which Jones or someone else will record on tape (once an English translation arrives).
What Jones perseverates on most, however, is that Jonestown residents need to conform more to the modes of appearance of Russians, both in manner of clothes but more importantly in hair length. Jones chastises those with long hair and beards because of the association of these styles with drug-using hippies. It is selfish to want to have long hair as an expression of one’s individuality when it puts the rest of the community in jeopardy. In looking like hippies, they could arouse suspicions of authorities or cause foreign countries to form negative attitudes about the group. Therefore, Jones demands that those with long hair have it cut, and to this end, he has Nancy Sines circulate through the pavilion to cut hair during the meeting. Jones states that people need to get their acts together soon because by the end of the year, the first group of 20 Temple members (all musicians) is to make the move to Russia. However, if they don’t conform in manner of dress and hair, know some Russian, and be able to talk Marxist-Leninism, they will not go.
Later in the tape, Jones says he understands not everyone would be able to answer questions about the news, or even the questions that guests such as those from the Soviet Embassy might have for them. Nevertheless, he directs everyone to raise their hands to answer when a question is posed – even if people don’t know the answer – and leave it to him to call upon those who do know. Even later in the tape, he directs Jonestown residents to learn a new version of “America the Beautiful,” one that respects the original song, yet incorporates some socialist themes. Again, this all seems to be for the benefit of future visitors from the Soviet Union.
While Jones holds out the option that some people could go back to the U.S. as an alternative to the Soviet Union, he also insists that the remaining Temple members in California would need to arrive in Guyana before any emigration of the larger Jonestown population could begin. It would be too difficult for anyone to immigrate directly from the U.S. to Russia, he says. Jones warns that those people shouldn’t wait too long to get to Guyana because it’s possible the U.S. could take away their passports. He uses Paul Robeson as an example of someone to whom this happened.
This issue is the basis of an unsettling confrontation later in the tape. An unidentified older man has apparently told others that he wanted to go back to the U.S. Some of the people in the crowd are laughing as the situation unfolds – and Jones’ distinctive laugh is also heard at one point – yet very soon the good humor has passed and Jones’ voice escalates as he personally confronts the old man. The man claims to want to make a short trip to the States to visit family at Christmas. Jones tells him: “I have the power to send you home by Christmas, but it’s not on TransWorld Airlines.” It’s “blasphemy” to want to leave Jonestown when Jones has not given any approval. Under the verbal barrages, the old man backs down on his request, and Jones orders him to be seated.
In between discussion of Timofeyev’s visit and the reading of questions on the current events quiz, Jones digresses into many familiar topics, which typically seem to be grievances. People are criticized as being lazy, not committed enough to communism, too gossipy, too worried about relationships, and generally not having their priorities straight. This gives him the opportunity to express his views on sex, including his assertion that homosexuality is only a form of protest. While Russians would allow homosexuality – after all, they’re not prudes – he quotes the Russian consul as saying it doesn’t exist there. “[W]e don’t have it. [Homosexuality] is the frustration that comes out of rebelling against the system. We don’t have it, because we understand… We don’t need to rebel. There’s no need to rebel.” Jones also holds up the North Korean model of young people not marrying until they’re in their thirties. In communist countries, he says, sex “is not glorified. It’s for pleasure, if they wish it, but primarily for productivity, and should be.”
He also points to a suggestion box submission by Marlene Wheeler who thinks that the toys being made by Temple members should be given to the children in Jonestown and that the children need better playground equipment. Jones, however, thinks that many more people should be making toys because there is a market for them at department stores in Georgetown. One order, he says, would bring in $30,000. If people would work harder to bring money into Jonestown, then the residents could afford to eat meat more often, like the kinds of meals provided during Timofeyev’s visit. Furthermore, toys for the children seem like a low priority, compared to the need for a new outhouse. Jones also suggests that if people worked hard so that they could get to Russia, there would be no more worries: people could have leisure time to talk or make love. But now is not the time for such things.
Jones repeatedly points to the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea as model communists. They are happy, healthy, hardworking and committed, and they do not complain about working 16 hour days. People there do not marry – according to Jones – until they are in their thirties, after they’ve had a chance to mature, learn about life, become educated, etc. The implication here is that Jonestown residents should also stop worrying about romantic partnerships when they are young because such relationships are a distraction from personal development and the greater good of the community.
There is also talk of enemies in this meeting. Jones discusses how a negative story slated for the National Enquirer was stopped by paying off a reporter for the National Enquirer through the assistance of Mark Lane. Jones then proceeds to criticize Temple attorney Charles Garry for not knowing how to handle certain matters effectively and for being preoccupied with himself rather than Temple concerns.
At one point in the meeting, a disturbance breaks out in the crowd. Apart from indicating that the person is a “he”, the name of the individual starting the fight is not given. Jones calls for the doctor and a strait jacket. When the recording resumes, it seems to be of the same meeting, with Jones continuing to talk about some of the same issues discussed earlier in the evening. He discusses how the U.S. has changed, with the situation for poor people being very dire. He also says that Timofeyev revealed to him that a U.S. Embassy official in Georgetown implied to the Russian that “Peoples Temple was a thousand child molesters.” This would seem to strengthen Jones’ claim that the U.S. is still “out to get them,” even in Guyana. Jonestown, therefore, may not be the safest place to be in the long run.
Towards the end of the meeting, Jones reminds people of why they left the US – including what visions he has had in predicting America’s doom – why they are in Guyana, what miracles he has performed to save his followers, even in Guyana.
The balance of the tape consists in re-recorded portions of this meeting. The additional recordings may have come through as an FBI error. However, since there are numerous duplicate tapes from earlier in the Temple’s history – some with additional material, as exists here – it suggests there were two or three microphones or recording machines in operation during the meeting, and that the alternate takes were added to the end of the more complete meeting tape.
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 1B100-10. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES giving commentary and apparently administering a test on politics to the people at Jonestown. JONES demands that all long hair and beards be cut that night.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.