Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
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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 consistent with context)
Bruce (There were two men in Jonestown named Bruce — Oliver and Turner — and no further clues given)
Eve (Elderly woman with Jim since Indianapolis days. It could be Jossie Evelyn Chambliss — there are no “Eve’s” listed among the Jonestown dead, and the oldest of the other three “Evelyn’s” was 36)
Hazel (There were three elderly women in Jonestown named Hazel — Dashiell, Horne, and [middle name of] Eva Pugh — and no further clues given)
Karen (probably Karen Tow Layton, but there were numerous Karen’s and no further clues given)
Sister Johnson (no clues on first name)
Moton (Unnamed member of family)
Selika Bordenave (speaks)
Pauline Groot (speaks)
Edward Moore (speaks)
Ameal Staten (Unconfirmed; Jim talks about a “beautiful sister, Staten”)
Richard Tropp (Jim talks about Tropp, but doesn’t say Harriet)
Bible verses cited : None
The Jonestown community meets to discuss whether they should go to Cuba. They talk about life there in general, about some of its laws, and about people reporting on each other. There is honor in reporting on each other in Cuba, Jones says, just as there should be honor in reporting on each other in Jonestown.
They also talk about whether Jones would be permitted to lead the group, what kind of threat his leadership would represent to the Cuban government. There is also discussion about whether everyone from Peoples Temple would be allowed to go. If anyone is barred from entry, Jones promises, he wouldn’t go either. Others follow up with the vow that if Jones doesn’t go, they won’t go either. That theme emerges several times during the meeting.
One woman stands to say, she doesn’t like to contradict Jones on anything, but she has a different opinion. Before she continues, Jones tells her, he doesn’t mind contradictions on issues such as this. It’s when “I speak like I know somebody’s thoughts, then that’s a realm you can’t contradict,” he adds.
Jones talks about the strong Christianity in Cuba, and says he hates to see the “gold cross” he saw around a woman’s neck. He says he understands freedom, and that Cuba has freedom, and that freedom means you can wear a gold cross, but if he were the communist in charge, there’d be a different kind of freedom, and that cross wouldn’t be there.
Jones also criticizes the elitism he saw in Cuba. He had stumbled into a dining hall in which Fidel Castro was hosting a banquet, and Jones was surprised to see china and silver on the table, when babies are starving. Jones later criticizes what he describes as hero worship of Castro.
A woman sums up the discussion about Cuba when she says that given the choice between the intellectual and educational opportunities that Cuba provides and the morals of a highly-principled leader, such as Jim, she would choose to stick with Jim.
In a short discussion about enemies, Jones criticizes a member for talking about killing Lester Kinsolving, and says that Peoples Temple does not engage in personal vendettas, that they are not a communist practice. Later, when a woman says she has lived a long life, and if it would help the cause to go out and kill some enemies, she would do it. Jones replies that that’s how the community gets in trouble. (Note: On other nights, Jones leads long conversations about killing enemies.)
The meeting has gone deep into the night, so Jones allows people to sleep in. He apologizes that they don’t have any snacks that night, but he promises a good breakfast the next day. He also asks the community to clean up the unsightly marks on buildings and in the walkways, because visitors — apparently from the Soviet Union — are coming. He tells the teachers to give students “the Soviet line” in upcoming classes. He asks people to address each other as comrade, and asks how Soviets salute each other.
Date of transcription : 3/9/79
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 1B47-37. This tape was found to contain the following:
An unknown (possibly Negro female) is talking about how she was going to follow JIM JONES and that they should all pull together. She comments “he saved my life”, referring to JIM JONES. From the conversation it appears to be a testimonial service with various ones in the congregation getting up to say a few words.
Another older female talks and makes a comment about wanting to go back to San Francisco or “where ever these devils is keeping up so much confusion and keeping you worried all the time and kill out all of them”.
Another female talks (she introduces herself but the name is unintelligible) and states that she came because of what he (JONES) stood for. She comments she would like to go back and take care of all those that caused so much trouble. This was in response to JONES’ question about what do you want to do with your life.
JONES makes a comment that some of his best workers are mentally ill and makes a comment about need to be mentally ill in order to be a communist.
Unknown female (sounds like an elderly female) comments that she’d follow JONES anywhere.
Another unknown female talks about going to Cuba and states they would get in trouble if they don’t keep the laws there.
JONES makes a comment regarding probably the reason that Guyana let them stay together as a group was they (Guyana) could use these people politically and let him kill himself trying to keep them good. He (JONES) comments “I just think there’s a chance it won’t happen”.
JONES further comments that Cuba saved their country from U.S. by reporting. JONES states that here you’re reporting to protect the people, in the system back there (implying the U.S.), you’re reporting to help the police.
An unknown female is talking and states something regarding Professor WILSON commented about JONES becoming a great leader in Cuba and consequently the world revolution.
JONES talking about a trip where he was supposed to see a museum in Cuba and somehow arrived in central communist headquarters where all the “big wigs” were. JONES makes a comment about having the children brought up in China in communism was twice as better as killing them or having them brought up in the U.S.
An unknown female comments that being with JONES is being highly principled.
An upcoming hearing is mentioned and the congregation is advised that if anyone knows anything regarding corruption, to get the information to a certain person.
JONES is talking and states “CURT I heard you, did you not TIM STONE [Stoen] want to murder KING SAVIE [Kinsolving]? Didn’t you plan to blow up whatever the goddamn buildings… (inaudible)”. You were going to do that and it was JIM JONES that stop you from that. You tried to turn me to terrorism and he wanted to go the way of peace”.
JONES makes a comment regarding personal vengeance is not a communist practice.
JONES states that he (TIM) went out and hired a detective, implying to kill KING SAVIE [Kinsolving] and detective didn’t do anything but take the $1000 fee.
During conversation JONES receives an unknown volunteer to go kill all the people causing the mess.
JONES makes a comment that worship is worship, you can call it God or you can call it leader, its still worship.
JONES obtains various views from members of the congregation about going to Cuba. Some of people say no regarding going to Cuba because they wouldn’t have their social security checks or security. Some were not wanting to go because they felt JONES’ leadership of his group would be a threat to the Cubans.
JONES puts it to a vote as to how many want to go to Cuba end begins to name off names, EDWARD MOORE, HAZEL, etc. of those who apparently want to go. JONES questions his congregation as to whether they know where Cuba is. The talking stops and there’s a portion of the tape blank.
Portion of tape is blank. Tape begins with JONES speaking in the middle of a sentence and comments about “those of you who voted cause afraid to die – keep on the move”.
JONES comments that its one o’clock (at night) and that he would move the time up for his people to get to work. He tells his six o’clock crew to be in the fields by eight o’clock and the seven o’clock crew to be in at nine o’clock. JONES talks about their place going to be inspected and everything has to be in order and clean as expecting someone. He states he’ll worry about socialist classes next night when he’s here. Reference is made to getting him rested (unknown who “he” is). JONES comments about being pro-Soviet down the line. JONES tells them to say “comrade” when person appears. He states everyone is to look busy. States they’re expecting religion and you got to give them something. JONES talks about their (the group’s) victories and states they won over the state of California, won with the Attorney General, etc. JONES states they took away their tax exemption and their corporate name in California, “white night paid”.
JONES states talking about their schedule of upcoming events, “tomorrow night nothing, teacher classes Monday, socialist classes Saturday night”. JONES makes a comment he doesn’t know what night it is.
JONES continues talking and states, “one white night and kill them all… Put some of these fuckers through one white night and that’d be all”.
“Your ass getting to Cuba, to Russia, or any place, our safety here will depend on how this place looks and how well you dress and clean yourself up.” JONES comments about everybody looking active. States give him a soviet salute. JONES stated they’d be impressed as expecting religion and implies if give them salute instead – compensate for all that religious shit. JONES states call them comrade, not brother.
There’s a period of super imposed conversation which is unintelligible, and then JONES is talking again briefly, as if it is still the close of the meeting. Then the tape is blank to the end.
It is noted that during parts of the tape, it sounded as if phone conversation(s) was super imposed at various times, but the phone conversation(s) was unintelligible.
Differences with FBI Summary:
(1) The FBI summary of this tape states that: “JONES … makes a comment about need to be mentally ill in order to be a communist.” The summary does not include the balance of Jones’ comment on the subject. “You have to get sick mentally about what’s going on around you. Umm-hmm — and have a healthy degree of paranoia.”
(2) The FBI summary mentions that “an unknown volunteer [says] to go kill all the people causing the mess.” The summary doesn’t include Jones’ response: “That’s — that’s the way we’re gonna get in trouble.”
Tape originally posted December 1998