Q623 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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To read the Tape Transcript, click here. Listen to MP3 (Pt. 1, Pt. 2).

FBI Catalogue: Tapes Not Summarized

FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Bud 120/2 typed 3×5 cards attache[d] “Danny & Clair Phillips”

Date cues on tape: None

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Part 1:
Adolf Hitler

Part 3:
former President John F. Kennedy
Lee Harvey Oswald, accused Kennedy assassin

Former members; Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Part 1:
Danny Pietila
Clair Phillips (speaks)
Linda (speaks)

Temple members:
Part 1:
Ross Case
Dan Phillips (speaks)

Part 5:
Alta Sellers

Temple members, full name unknown:
Part 3:
Karen (probably Layton)

Part 5:

Part 1:

Bible verses cited: None


This tape consists of a series of seemingly-unrelated phone calls and conversations, half of them too short for any kind of analysis, the other half so far out of context of the underlying problem or issue precipitating the conversations as to make them almost indecipherable.

The tape opens with a phone conversation which is already underway. Dan, the young man at the recording end – and hence, likely the Temple’s end – of the conversation, is trying to figure out who is lying to him about people leaving the church. However, the two women at the other end – a younger woman named Linda and an older woman (likely Clair Phillips, if the notation on the tape box is accurate) who says she was with the church for 21 years – accuse people in the church of lying, and the accusation includes Dan himself. At one point, when Linda confronts Dan with a yes-or-no question about something that happened, and he replies no, she says (seemingly with more resignation than anger), “Danny, you are full of shit.”

More than once during the ten-minute conversation, the older woman suggests that everyone involved in the dispute get together in a room and hash out the problem, so that they don’t have to figure out everyone else’s stories. “[W]e’ll all face each other and say what we have to say, and then somebody can’t say, well, this one said that one and that one said this one… I think our best bet is all of us get together and just say what we have to say.” It’s a better alternative than leaving the resolution up to Jim Jones – “Jim, I know, twists around until [it] looks like everybody’s lying but him” – but she thinks Jones should be at the meeting so he can be heard.

The conversation turns to the belief in Jones’ miracles. Dan says that his faith is strong in Jones’ protective powers, because he has benefited from it personally. The woman downplays Jones’ ability to foresee the future – you can predict an accident, she says, “and nine times out of ten, somebody’ll have an accident” – but Dan will not be dissuaded. He follows up immediately with a question about how Jones happened to know one passage from a 3000-page book. The woman reverts to her plea for everyone to meet.

In the third part of the tape, a man interviews an older black woman about a miracle of revelation and protection she has received from Pastor Jones. The conversation is short, though, and often drowned out by a choir rehearsing in the background.

The longest conversation occurs on the second side of the tape, as several members of the Temple interview a man about the trouble he is in. The man, who is the partner of Temple member Alta Sellers, has a multitude of problems.  He is on disability, he faces a court date (and has apparently been in jail before), but his greatest fear is that he is in danger of losing his lover. She has left him, and although the Temple members report that she wants to go back to him, she is apprehensive that he might not do what he says he will do. She is also frightened by a story about him sitting in a car with a gun. The man is distraught and says he wants her back, but as one woman tells him, it’s Alta’s decision to make.

The conversation takes place by a roadway, and much of it is lost to heavy truck traffic going by. In addition, it is never clear what exactly the Temple members want of the man, what he has offered to them, or even why his partner has sent a delegation (or allowed the delegation to be sent) to talk to him on her behalf.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 3/13/79

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 #68.

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. The tape for the most part was blank.

Differences with FBI Summary:

There is nothing to compare between 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 February 2005