Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee, III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Identified Individuals Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Audio Magnetics 60 marked in part “Don Swinney” (crossout in FBI notation)
Date cues on tape: Jim Jones and Mike Prokes visiting Jonestown pioneers before mass migrations (November 1975, according to Raven) [recorded on same trip as Q 569]
Dr. Ptolemy Reid, Guyana Deputy Prime Minister
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister
Gavin Kennard, Guyana Minister of Agriculture
Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista
Russian Communist leader Vladimir Lenin
Russian Communist leader Leon Trotsky
Former U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) (by reference)
Temple members not on death or survivors’ lists:
Chuck Beikman (speaks)
Phil Blakey (speaks)
Greg Frost (speaks)
Kevan Grubbs (speaks)
David Bettis (Pop) Jackson (speaks)
“Mom” Jackson (probably Luvenia) (speaks)
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Jerry Livingston (speaks)
Mike Prokes (speaks)
Anthony Simon (speaks)
Davis Solomon (speaks)
Tim Swinney (speaks)
Albert Touchette (speaks)
Charlie Touchette (speaks)
Deborah Touchette (speaks)
Joyce Touchette (speaks)
Mike Touchette (speaks)
Jan Wilsey (speaks)
Charlie Touchette (speaks)
Joyce Touchette (speaks)
Bible verses cited: Spoken by David Bettis (Pop) Jackson, (Part 1): “We heard about great things that Christ did when he was here, but we have a greater one here now, than Christ. We have one that we can see with our natural eyes, and see what he do. He raise the dead and give sight to the blind, make the cripple leap for joy.” (Matthew 11:4-5, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up.”)
This tape, made during one of Jim Jones’ trips to Jonestown prior to the mass migrations of Temple members in 1977, consists of four parts. The first two parts are audio letters to the members back home in San Francisco and were intended for public consumption. The last two are meetings — or perhaps two parts of the same meeting — between Jones and his party from San Francisco, including Marceline and Mike Prokes, and the “pioneers” of Jonestown, the people who were building the physical community in the Promised Land.
In the first two parts, a number of people, some anonymous, but most of whom identify themselves on tape, record messages for the membership at large back in the States. There are number of recurring themes to the messages. The settlers spend much time talking about the beauty of Jonestown, and how they all wish more folks could see it. They also express gratitude for Jim’s presence with them.
The main message, though, is that the people in Jonestown miss their contact with their leader, Jim Jones, so much so, that they regret all of the times they missed a meeting or a church service when they had the opportunity to attend. They urge stateside members not to make the same error and to stay together with Jones. “The teachings of Father are so beautiful, that anyone who tries to stay out of meetings, they really should examine themselves,” says Charlie Touchette. To that, Tim Swinney add, “I know what I was missing in the meetings, and I sure wish … I would’ve went to them more, instead of trying to find excuses to be out of them.”
As the messages continue, a more militant theme emerges. People begin to speak of going back to the States, if Jim wants them there to fight their enemies. Some of the earlier speakers return to the microphone to add their support to the idea. One example is Mike Touchette’s vow: “I want everyone to know back there, is that, if Father would ever decide to make the move, to bring down the system of the capitalistic America, is that I would come back instantly to help.”
The public session ends with a number of settlers — including Phil Blakey, Chuck Beikman, and the Touchette men — speaking of the miracles that Jim Jones had performed to keep them from being injured or maimed in construction accidents.
The third segment of the tape occurs at the end of an all-night meeting in Jonestown, during which the settlers talk about the concerns of their jungle community. Few of the concerns are personal; instead, they talk about the pace of construction, the leasehold they have with the government of Guyana, their relations with government officials. Charlie Touchette in particular talks about working with local people and with the people of Georgetown as a way to build good public relations. If everything else is equal in terms of quality and price of an item, he says, they should buy on the Guyanese economy instead of importing items from the U.S. Later in the session, they talk about using the sawmill to provide wood to the surrounding areas, after their own needs have been met, as a way to make themselves “desirable” to the government.
When the group talks about provisions for their survival, the conversation turns to what they drink. Some admit that they still like caffeine, and others confess to a weakness for colas. Jones leads a discussion about the effects of cola on their diet, the effects of the sugar in cola on their health, and especially the costs. This leads into a more general discussion about money.
The conversation returns to money shortly afterwards. There is a discussion of what people of Jonestown need a personal allowance for, and whether it should continue. A tacit consensus emerges to drop personal allowances, although there are assurances that people will have their needs taken care of — and even the non-essentials, like music and books — when they go to Georgetown. As one woman says, “I don’t think any reasonable request [for extra cash] has ever been turned down.”
There is minor discussion of what would happen if Jonestown shut down, and they no longer had the refuge of the Promised Land. They would still stick to their principles, Jones says, but they would have to “make accommodations” before they became militantly active. “You know, it might not be convenient … if we close this down, go home and start a riot the first week.”
The last segment of the tape is more overtly political, as Jones speaks about the tactics of revolution, although it continues one of the latter themes of the previous session, that there is a time to plan for violence against an oppressive government, and a time to bide one’s time. Still, Jones warns, there is the problem of assimilating in the main culture. “Some of the people in our ranks could become a part of [the system] and lose their identity and want to survive. But again, we don’t start our goddamn revolution until you’re ready.” He adds that he has people “outside the movement” who will help them, even if they don’t have enough yet.
The discussion of revolution leads to a conversation about the consequences of treason, and whether anyone could accuse the group of being treasonous. Jones cites several examples from history of what happens to traitors, first those punished by society at large, then those punished within the groups that are seeking to make changes. One example is about a man within Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement who traded information for sex. This leads Jones to a conclusion he has drawn before: “Sex has been such a murderous thing in the movement.”
When asked why they don’t kill their own traitors (i.e., the enemies of Peoples Temple from within its own ranks), Jones strikes a cautionary note. “When you start killing your enemies, you goddamn better well be prepared to fight,” he says. “And when everything is lost, then you can kill your enemies.” He adds that when that happened, they would have to go after all their enemies, including the “mild-mannered” ones, whose paranoid tendencies now might lead to trouble many years later.
Jones urges the settlers to learn from their enemies, how the U.S. government used the atmosphere of the McCarthy era to crush, not only the Community Party, but any movement associated with peace, civil rights, and brotherhood. The tape ends as Jones talks about how Soviet politics and paranoia resulted in the poisoning death of Lenin.
Date of transcription: 3/22/79
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 March 3, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B47 #11. This tape was found to contain the following:
1. Testimonials to father’s greatness, on the arrival of JONES at Guyana. These testimonials are addressed to the San Francisco family.
2. Comments by MIKE TOUCHETTE – “If father would ever decid [decide] to make the move to bring down the system of capitalism, America, I would come back instantly to help.”
3. Dealing with traitors, (example of the COBBS) and problems with paranoia.
Differences with FBI Summary:
Given the limitation of its length and lack of detail or analysis, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted November 2001