Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue : Jones speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Audio Magnetics 60/April 13 meeting
Date cues on tape : 13 April 1978 (notation on tape box confirmed in context)
Public figures/National and international names:
Temple attorney Charles Garry
Ukiah Daily Journal reporter Kathy Hunter
Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Elmer and Deanna Mertle (aka Al and Jeannie Mills)
Howard and Beverly Oliver
Tim and Grace Stoen
Rosemary and Harry Williams
Temple members not on death or survivors’ lists:
Leona (probably Leona Collier)
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Amanda (Amanda Fair?)
>Bates (Man, not listed among Jonestown dead or known survivors)
Billy (not listed among Jonestown dead or known survivors)
Cheryl (two listed in JT dead – McCall and Wilhite)
Cynthia (two in JT in 4/78 – Davis and Fitch)
Johnny (probably Johnny Jones) (speaks)
Brother Jones (Could be one of several)
Karen (numerous Karens, probably Karen Tow Layton)
Larry (several Larrys and Lawrences; probably Laurence Schacht)
Lenora (not listed among Jonestown dead or known survivors)
Molly (not listed among Jonestown dead or known survivors)
Sister Perkins (several Perkins women)
Rose (several Roses)
Ruth (several Ruths)
Sharon (several Sharons)
Tanya (not listed among Jonestown dead or known survivors)
Julius (likely Evans)
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Sandra Yvette Cobb Jones
Lue Ester Lewis
Cassandra Minor (probably)
Bill or Bruce Oliver (speaks)
Jane Owens (speaks)
John Victor Stoen
Harriet Sarah Tropp
Lisa Renee Williams
Bible verses cited : None
This April 1978 meeting of the Jonestown community came during a period of increasing pressure. The Concerned Relatives had just turned over a list of grievances against Peoples Temple and Jim Jones at the Temple’s headquarters in San Francisco; they also disseminated it to the press and other Temple “enemies.” Jonestown was also expecting the arrival of an unnamed woman who had no relatives there – the tape begins after the meeting’s starting, and the woman is never named – but it is believed to be Kathy Hunter, a somewhat sympathetic (and yet uncontrollable) reporter for the Ukiah Daily Journal. Finally, there is already official pressure beginning to build, and Jonestown is having a hard time getting its medicines to clear through Customs. Late in the tape, an older woman worries aloud – with Jones’ concurrence – that the CIA is working with the Guyana government to let people know when certain people (i.e., Jones’ Guyanese supporters) are out of the country.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere at the meeting seems to be somewhat relaxed, with lots of laughter and banter. Jones is stern and makes demands in the course of the tape, but there is no evidence of lashing out at his followers. There are moments of tenderness as well, with Marceline expressing love towards Jones and Jones responding in kind a few minutes later.
The tape opens with a discussion of whether the unnamed woman should be allowed to come. She’s not invited, Jones says, but she’s coming. There is a sense of dealing with it – finding out what kinds of food she likes, how much access she should have to the project. They debate showing the nice air-conditioned cabin where Jim’s mother lived, against the worry that it could be misconstrued, that some got preferential treatment. They also discuss how they can use her presence, whether they should send pictures back to the States through her, let her know of the attacks that have been made by Temple enemies.
Jones also works on the response to the Concerned Relatives’ Accusation, and says they should change the idea of negative publicity. “I’d like a word changed. It ain’t negative. It’s lies.”
He then says that he agrees with the Accusation on one point, that they can’t get into Jonestown, because “we wouldn’t let them.” He said that this is our home, that the government needs to enforce who can control the interior. He continues that the government thinks it controls the interior, but “we decided on that White Night that we control the interior.”
Jones attacks the Concerned Relatives and Joe Mazor, the private detective they hired. He calls Mazor a criminal with a long rap sheet – 75 pages – and said that by law, he shouldn’t have been able to become a private detective. They had taken the issue to Governor Jerry Brown, but he rejected their appeal. Jones then attacks the liberal friends left behind who let the Jonestown community down once Temple members were out of the country.
People complain about their relatives – mostly those associated with Concerned Relatives, including the Oliver boys talking about their parents – and make rude remarks at the expense of Tim Stoen. But Jones knows he has the upper hand, because the people they want are in Jonestown – with them – and to be successful, Concerned Relatives and their hirelings have to get the people. “It’s the same old scenario, same story with John [Victor Stoen]. Got to have the person.”
In the midst of this, a young man talks about his wanting to get to Jonestown for a long time, and his happiness here. Jones expands upon that, and asks people to look around them at the beauty of the place. “You never had one day, you couldn’t set around in Philadelphia or Chicago or Detroit or San Francisco – take a look at those trees out there. And one day – that’s worth a hell of a lot, just to be able to look around there and feel that breeze.” He talks about freezing in northern cities and not being able to breathe in L.A.
He talks about others being happy here – fellowship and movies and card games and food – and considers that the relatives aren’t happy, that capitalism hasn’t been able to give them that. As an aside, he says he can’t be happy, because he’s always too busy worrying about the welfare of the people.
They also talk about the arranged marriages within the Temple, but it was a light conversation. One woman “married” a man because she was the only one who would consent, Jones said; she did it out of principle. Besides, he adds, it was just on paper.
At the end of the tape, Jones takes a break from the meeting while he urinates. Marceline says she knows why God is a man, because it’s easier to piss. Jones disagrees, and says women have the advantage of menstruation. “You can shit on ’em and bleed on ’em [Temple enemies] at the same time, that’s pretty good.”.
Date of transcription : 3/7/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 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 6, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape number 1B47-30. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES is talking to his congregation and answering questions they ask him. One woman inquires about a relative of one of the temple members visiting Jonestown and what should be done about this person. JONES told her “if anything goes on we’ll tell them you’re hunting. Anything can happen out here”.
JIM JONES in talking to his congregation and answering questions continually uses the term “white night”.
Differences with FBI Summary: None
Tape originally posted April 1999