Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Tapes Not Summarized
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Tracs 60/ 2/9/77 Julia Hare interviews JJ on KSFO
Date cues on tape: 9 February 1977 (notation on tape box) (Tape Q 609 specifies 3/5/77; month difference is insignificant)
U.S. President Jimmy Carter
Rosalynn Carter, wife of President Carter
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
George McGovern, U.S. Senator (D-South Dakota)
Richard M. Nixon, former U.S. President (by reference)
Theodore Sorensen, Carter nominee to head CIA
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Andrew Young, civil rights activist, U.S. Ambassador to U.N.
Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader, practitioner of non-violence
Vladimir Lenin, leader of Russian Revolution
Karl Marx, German economist, author of Das Kapital Salvador Allende, President of Chile, deposed in 1973 coup (by reference)
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister (by reference)
Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther leader
Kathleen Cleaver, Black Panther leader
Gary Gilmore, executed convict
Alex Haley, author of Roots
Willie Brown, California Assemblyman
John Burton, U.S. Representative (D-Calif.)
Philip Burton, U.S. Representative (D-Calif.)
Don Clausen, U.S. Representative (R-Calif.)
Mervyn Dymally, California Lieutenant Governor
George Moscone, mayor of San Francisco
Charles Gain, San Francisco police chief
Joseph Freitas, San Francisco District Attorney
Dr. Helen Flanders Dunbar, psychiatrist
Bill Farr, L.A. newsman
Yvonne Golden, S.F. Board of Education
Angela Davis, university professor, member of Communist Party
Rev. Hall, minister at Bethel AME in San Francisco
Julia Hare, Bay Area black activist, radio talk show host (speaks)
Nathan Hare, black publisher (by reference)
Ida Ray (phonetic), black activist (speaks)
Amanda Poindexter, aka Ever Rejoicing (by reference)
Michael Prokes (speaks)
Bible verses cited:
“Jesus said, he is not against me, is on my part. When one of his disciples came up to him early in the ministry when all the followers that Jesus had were with him, so it had to be someone of another faith… John said, what’re we going to so with this gang. They’re not with Jesus. He said, they’re not against me. They’re for me.” (Mark 9:38-40, “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.”)
“When [Jesus] judged people– in Matthew 25, the only judgment that ever came out of the mouth of the Nazarene was, I was hungry and you didn’t feed me, I was thirsty, you gave me no drink, I was a stranger, you didn’t take me in. I was in prison, oppressed, and you didn’t do something to get me out of that condition. He said what– when did we see you there? He said, in that you saw the least of suffering humanity there, you saw me. And so you didn’t help them.” (Matthew 25:34-46)
“Jesus Christ said petition or pray that heaven come on earth. Heaven is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”)
“[P]acifism doesn’t mean that you roll over and play dead. Now indeed, if a bunch of [Nazis] come into our Temple, we’re not going to turn the other cheek. We’ve turned all the cheeks we’ve got anyway. And so we will resist evil.” (Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”)
“Love does overcome evil, if you can endure.” (Romans 12:21, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”)
This two-part tape consists of a radio program from February 1977 in which San Francisco station KSFO host Julia Hare interviews two Temple leaders, Jim Jones and Michael Prokes, and a phone call in which Prokes attempts to undo some damage that Jones did to his own political future in the Bay Area, due in part to that interview. The first two-thirds of this tape are virtually duplicated by Q 609.
A note of context may help with this tape: By the end of 1976, some black clergy had come to perceive Jones as a threat to the black church in San Francisco. Through the Temple’s pro-active work on behalf of the poor in San Francisco – especially the black poor – Jones’ church was siphoning off members from surrounding black congregations, and local black clergy felt threatened. Finally, Jones himself provided them with an opportunity to bring him down a notch: attracted by the prestige – if not necessarily the politics – of a group called the Black Leadership Forum, Jones applied for membership. In response, several black ministers, led by Hannibal Williams and Amos Brown, changed membership rules to require that any applicant be an “adult person of African descent.” While Jones claimed to have a black ancestry, just as he claimed to have Native American ancestry (and both of which were unfounded), he certainly did not have enough black blood to meet the new requirement, and his application was rejected. (For more information, see John R. Hall, Gone From the Promised Land, p. 162, and Tanya M. Hollis, “Peoples Temple and Housing Politics in San Francisco,” in Peoples Temple and Black Religion in America, edited by Rebecca Moore, Anthony B. Pinn and Mary R. Sawyer, p. 97.)
Much of this tape reflects Jones’ reaction to the snub. While the interview is a general one – the host asks questions about the Temple’s interdenominational programs, about Jones’ psychic healings, about trips to the East Coast that members took on Temple buses, and about the Temple’s most recent efforts in support of the tenants at the International Hotel – there are large segments devoted to Jones’ political views, and a somewhat staged question on his aspirations.
It is likely that the host is aware of Jones’ recent difficulties. She interrupts herself on a question about his membership in a group – likely the Black Leadership Forum – to ask instead, “[F]irst, what do you think is the failure of the black ministers, why they haven’t been able to organize people to do the kinds of things you did?” She also asks pointed questions about the reasons for locating a church with white leadership in a black area of San Francisco, and about his own success in bringing people of different ethnicity and backgrounds together. His answers combine plugs for the Temple (“[R]eligion should be a practical thing. We feel the highest worship to a deity, however you see it, should be service to your fellow man”) and critiques of other churches (“I think they’re caught up in this futurism… you hear this pie in the sky stuff and futurism about the furniture of heaven and the temperature of hell, and that’s where too many of our churches are, their heads are still there, even in 1977”).
Later, when the opportunity arises for Jones to express his displeasure with the decision of the Black Leadership Forum – however oblique the reference might have been to the casual listener, and however equally provocative it might have been to those in the group – he seizes it. In the course of talking about ways the FBI disrupted the Black Panthers, to keep them marginalized, Jones says, “[the FBI] was talking in the same terms that some people are talking right today in San Francisco, we can’t cooperate with any others, we have to be black only, and we’re going to have to define what black is, and now we find out that behind all those black-only was white establishment plans to divide… I’m suspicious of these people who want to divide when the community could really come together in San Francisco.… I wonder if we don’t have a nice agent provocateur.”
Towards the end of the interview, following a lengthy segment about Jones’ views on a possible thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba in the opening weeks of the new Carter administration, Hare uses a commercial break to express her admiration for Jones and to say she wants to follow up with a question about his political aspirations. Jones fumbles towards a response while he is still off air – “these black people have come to me and told me, they’re scared to death I’m going to be the mayor or I’m going to be the next supervisor” – but then says he has a message he wants to deliver. “Thank you for asking me that,” he says as the break ends, “so I can tell them, that I do not want to be the supervisor. And then I will be probably welcomed into the forum.”
Hare accommodates him: “[T]here are those who may feel that you have political aspirations, even with ramifications for the Black Leadership Forum. Are you interested in that, becoming a supervisor?” Jones is emphatic in his response: “unequivocally no… I have no political ambitions, and this foolishness of the rumor that I’m going to throw my hat in for the mayor, I have no intentions of running for any elected office. And that is absolutely so.”
But the damage had been done. The second part of the tape – recorded over a portion of the Hare interview with Jones and Prokes – is a phone call which the Temple publicist places to a black female activist named Ida Ray who can help Jones make the necessary repairs. Prokes begins by describing the faux pas. In response to a question about membership on the Black Leadership Forum, Prokes says, “Jim evidently responded by saying, I don’t want to go where I’m not wanted. He felt that it was a blunder on the part of the Black Leadership Forum to exclude him because, he said, it plays right into the hands of the system, which is trying to keep blacks and minorities divided in order to keep them oppressed.” Jones’ statement had started the phones ringing in the black community, a reaction which both Prokes and Ray felt was blown out of proportion. Prokes repeats what Jones said in the interview – that the Temple takes stands on positions, not people; that it is better to work from outside the two-party system so that they’ll have the unfettered ability to point out errors in policy when they occur; and that Jones has no political aspirations – then Prokes adds his own affirmation: “And we’ll always do that.”
The woman points out that, ever since the election of George Moscone as mayor of San Francisco – a campaign in which the Temple had a pivotal and perhaps decisive role – a lot of people are afraid of the clout that Jones has, but that the best solution is to keep on working and to let this momentary crisis blow itself out. She ends the conversation by saying that she shares the Temple’s desire to work for unity, not division, and promises to help them smooth things over.
There are two other unrelated statements which Jones makes in the Hare interview that reveal the state of Jones’ thinking at this juncture. One is an opinion which he rarely expresses in a public setting, which is that the time that the church spent in the agricultural community of Redwood Valley “was the biggest mistake of my life.” There was insurmountable racism there, he says, as well as anti-Semitism, a by-product of the homogenous population of rural areas. The result is, those environments are “more sterile.”
The second is his reference to death which – unlike his statement about Ukiah – seems to appear on almost every tape the Temple recorded. According to Jones, during a trip to Cuba, he asked a woman on the government’s Central Committee whether they weren’t afraid that their opposition to the United States might bring about a nuclear war. The woman’s response, according to Jones, was, “We all have to die sometime. You can’t start compromising your principles. You have to live by your principles.”
The language is actually that of Jim Jones. He speaks of commitment to principle, even unto death, in numerous addresses to the Temple membership. The rhetoric becomes even more pervasive in Jonestown, extending to 18 November 1978, when, during the death tape, he says, “[S]omeday everybody dies. Some place that hope runs out, because everybody dies. I haven’t seen anybody yet didn’t die.”
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 8, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B47 #72.
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 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 April 2006