Q579 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: Tapes not summarized

FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Tracs 90/ Marie Jackson

Date cues on tape: Spring 1977 (Marshall Kilduff in process of researching article)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Marshall Kilduff, reporter (Part 5 [by reference], part 8)
Janis Joplin (Part 10)
Alex Haley (Part 10)
Guy Wright (Columnist for Examiner)

McClatchy family, of McClatchy newspapers (Part 1)
Mr. James (speaks) (Part 4)
Yvonne Golden, black educator in San Francisco (Part 4)
Kerry Smith (speaks) (Part 6)
Scott (last name unknown) (Part 6)
Gil Graham (Part 6)
Cecil Stavens (phonetic) (Part 6)
Tony (last name unknown) (Part 7)
Don (last name unknown) (Part 8)
Paul (last name unknown) (speaks) (Part 10)
Pam Jones (Part 10)
Connie Kang (Part 12)

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
David Conn (Part 1)

Temple members:
Mike Prokes (speaks)
Marceline Jones (Part 1 [speaks], Part 8)
Johnny Brown (Part 4)
Kay Henderson (Part 4)
Lee Ingram (Part 4)
Marie Jackson (Part 8 [speaks], Part 9 [speaks])
Leona (probably Collier) (Part 8)
Martha (last name unknown) (Part 8)

Bible verses cited: None


This tape consists primarily of Peoples Temple members — especially Mike Prokes — engaged in damage control before an article by Marshall Kilduff was scheduled to be published in 1977 (probably the article in New West, although Kilduff originally intended his article for San Francisco magazine).

The tape is a series of recorded phone calls, except for the first segment, in which Jim Jones tries to prepare a small gathering in ways to get the word out about the church, how to talk with reporters, and how to find out what the reporters know.

The tape also includes a conversation between a Temple sympathizer — if not a member — who calls the magazine which is considering the Kilduff piece. The caller wants to talk about the good things which the Temple has done, but the receptionist cuts her off, saying they have been “inundated” with scores of calls on the subject. The receptionist tries to put some distance between the magazine and the reporter, saying it is a free-lance piece. Obviously, this was part of the Temple campaign of barraging the magazine with calls; equally obviously, it was having an effect, at least upon the publication’s staff.

The balance of the calls involve Temple spokesperson Mike Prokes, and shows how the public relations arm of the Temple worked. He fields a call from a community organizer who is looking for assistance, demurs on a solid commitment to help, and spends much of the call extolling what the Temple in doing in San Francisco and how well the Jonestown project is coming along. He says that Jones is in Guyana, recuperating from a “collapse,” and doesn’t know when he’ll return.

In another call, a reporter friend who has written a book calls Prokes to tell him about a lost soul that the writer believes could benefit from the Temple’s work, someone who practices the Temple’s type of religion. “I just see a lot of good and worth in her, if she has something to latch onto that’ll help her keep up her own strength.”

Prokes takes the opportunity to build a bridge to the reporter, although the method he suggests is inappropriate for a journalist to do: he suggest that the author write a review for his own book and publish it anonymously (or under someone else’s name) in the Temple’s paper. The writer demurs.

In another call, Prokes fields a columnist’s questions about Jones’ health, downplays the seriousness of Jones’ problem — even though the problems were more serious earlier in the tape, when he was trying to keep Jones from taking on another responsibility — and then steers the columnist to a discussion of Temple programs and Jonestown.

Perhaps the most interesting phone call is the first one Prokes makes to Marie Jackson, to see if she’ll agree to a request he has. While other phone calls yield Prokes the answers he wants to the questions he asks, this conversation shows what happens when two people with two similar — but nevertheless different — agendas say two different things, and yet still believe they have just agreed with each other.

Prokes knows Marshall Kilduff has spoken with Mrs. Jackson, just as the reporter has spoken with other Temple members. Prokes wants her to be among the number of people who say Kilduff was harassing people. If anyone asks, Prokes says, “that’s basically what you could say … you could just say OHe asked questions, and I decided not to answer anymore, and he said, well, he’d keep bothering until he’d got the information.'” Mrs. Jackson has a different recollection of the conversation. She tells Prokes, she didn’t know anything, she told Kilduff she didn’t know anything, and that Kilduff said he would call back at some point to see if she wanted to talk or had something to say. “What could I say about Jim anyway, you know?” Although they discuss the point at some length, by the end of the conversation, they feel they are in agreement.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 3/6/79

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 2, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B47 #20. This tape was found to contain the following:

This tape was reviewed, and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of Congressman RYAN.

Differences with FBI Summary:

There is nothing to compare the two summaries, since the FBI did not write anything for this, or 64 other tapes which bear the notation “Tapes Not Summarized.” These tapes seems to have little on them which the FBI could use for its purposes of investigating crimes arising from the Jonestown tragedy, but then again, that describes many other tapes as well. The difference seems to be that one or two FBI agents catalogued this set of tapes — as evidenced by the typewriter used in writing the reports — and that generally, the transcriptions were made early in the process, before someone may have asked for greater detail in the reports.

Tape originally posted July 2001