Q683 Summary

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: Tapes Not Summarized

FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Tracs 90/ “Cecil Williams interviews JJ 4/12/76”

Date cues on tape: 12 April 1976 (notation on tape box, confirmed in context)

People named:

Peoples Temple members
Part 1
Tim Carter (speaks)

Part 2
Mike Prokes (speaks)

Part 3
Marie Decker

Part 4
Mike Prokes (speaks)

Part 5
Tim Carter
Gene Chaikin
Phyllis Chaikin
Christine Chavez
James “Reb” Edwards
Paul Flowers
Hue Fortson
Rhonda Fortson
John Harrison
Archie Ijames (speaks)
Ronny James
Anita Kelley
Harriet Randolph, aka Harriet Sarah Tropp
Jim Randolph
Larry Schacht
Dick Tropp
Mary Wotherspoon
Peter Wotherspoon (speaks)

Part 7
Mike Prokes (speaks)

Part 8
Bonnie [most likely Simon] (speaks)

Part 9
Mike Prokes (speaks)

Peoples Temple members, full name unknown:
Part 5
Lois (either Briedenbach or Ponts)
Rosie (could be Burgines, or any one of a number of Roses)

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Part 5
Lester Kinsolving, newspaper columnist and Temple antagonist

Public figures/National and international names:
Part 1
John Maher, director of Delancey Street Foundation

Part 3
American Indian Movement activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash
American Indian Movement activist Dennis Banks
Kamook Banks, wife of Dennis Banks
Angela Davis, University of California professor who was fired over her membership in the Communist Party

Newsman Bill Farr
Former President Richard Nixon
Schrimerhorn [phonetic, first name unknown], columnist in San Francisco Examiner
NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins

Adolf Hitler
Martin Niemoller, German pastor in World War II

Cecil Williams, Methodist minister in San Francisco (speaks)

Part 4
Duncan James, on staff of Mendocino County district attorney

Part 7
Native American activist Dennis Banks
Then-San Francisco assemblyman Willie Brown
U.S. Representative Ron Dellums
Then-President Gerald Ford
Attorney William Kunstler
Malcolm X
Nation of Islam leader Wallace D. Muhammed
Cecil Williams, Methodist minister in San Francisco
Paul Godsey, North of Market Senior Organization

Part 8
Carlton Goodlett, Sun-Reporter newspaper publisher

Unknown persons

Part 4
Casey [phonetic] Cartmell

Part 7
Dick, last name unknown, writer (speaks)
Loretta Smith
Gene Weller

Part 8
Dr. Gerlach
Marsha at Jackson Travel agency
Ron Newpower
Mr. Rizzo
Miss Tomkis

Part 9
Bill Lenson, president of health clinic (speaks)

Bible verses cited:
Part 3

“Jesus Christ … said, we were our brother’s keeper, and God is no respecter of persons.” (Reference to Genesis 4:9, “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”; also Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”)


This tape consists of a series of phone calls, recorded television interviews and general business discussions, most of which make little sense without a context that is not provided. It could be that one of the segments is deliberately obscure: it has so many unfamiliar names that it is possible that the two women involved in the telephone conversation are speaking in code.

Only the segments that make sense are discussed below.

Part 3 of the tape is a recording made inside a television studio of an interview between Jim Jones and Cecil Williams, the minister of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco. [Note: This segment of the tape is reproduced in its entirety on Q 645, but the circumstances of the taping is different, and the interruptions and unintelligible portions of the conversation are fewer on the other tape.]

Taped apparently as part of a regular television program which Williams hosts, the two men talk about the political lightning rods of the day – such as Dennis Banks, Angela Davis and Bill Farr – and the role of support that Peoples Temple has given in their causes. Jones emphasizes that the support didn’t come just from him, but from the whole congregation. The membership figure he gives includes 8000 in San Francisco, 10,000 in L.A., and an unknown number in Central Valley towns of Fresno and Bakersfield.

Closer to home, Jones talks about the assistance that Peoples Temple gives on a regular basis to seniors in San Francisco’s Tenderloin – an area that Williams also ministers to – and the drug treatment programs of the church. In the course of answering a question about care for animals, he segues into a description of Temple health care services for all people.

Speaking about the Peoples Temple “agricultural mission,” Jones says the government of Guyana has granted the Temple “several thousand acres,” and that the Temple is already bringing in tons of food to feed the local population and help alleviate poverty. He also says the project is employing about 200 people, implying – although not saying specifically – that the employed are Guyanese.

The two men talk about the “healing ministry” – something they share – and the cures they have seen in their congregations. “We’ve had similar remissions,” Jones says. “There’s a tremendous dimension that we’re unfamiliar with… undoubtedly there’s a dimension there that the responsible church does take over.” At the same time, Jones emphasizes the need for professional medical care. “There’s a place indeed for a responsible and sane spiritual healing. It must be in conjunction with medical science, because we know there’s no panacea… When we find someone who thinks they have a healing, we say, get to the doctor and verify it.”

Near the end of the interview, Williams asks Jones about the Temple’s money. Jones replies that people are generous when they see the results of the Temple’s work.

Much of the interview, though, consists of Williams praising Jones as “unique,” “indescribable,” and “very important.” He describes himself as “amazed” by the work that Jones and his church has done. The Methodist minister concludes the interview lauding Jones with these words: “Here’s a man, I have to tell you, that I think is … a genius, I think he’s a prophet. He’s charismatic. He’s one of our great leaders. I’m glad to be associated with you. Brother, we gone stay together, ‘cause I know, if I stay with you, we gone make it. We’ll bring about justice.”

In Part 5, Jones and a number of other Temple leaders – most of them unidentified – prepare for a news conference by discussing which person will say what about their religious faith and how the Temple has responded to that faith. While the purpose is to show the diversity of beliefs within the Temple, the assigned positions for various members become more of a script. “We need a belief for Larry Schacht,” one woman says, referring to the Temple’s doctor. Even the word choices – and whether people can pronounce the words that Jones wants them to say – become a subject of debate.

In keeping with the scripted aspects of the Temple’s presentation, Jones tries to anticipate how the press will respond. After helping one woman formulate her belief, Jones comments, “That’s a new twist.”

Jones also coaches people what not to say. When someone introduces the concept of karma – often discussed in Temple services – Jones vetoes it immediately. “No, fuck, no karma. Don’t get no karma, don’t get no karma. Don’t you mention that word, karma… Stay away from that karma, reincarnation, all that shit.” Later, when another man proposes a position of disbelief in a loving God that would let children die – again, a recurring theme in Jones’ sermons – there are cries of dissent and vehement opposition from Jones.

The group tailors the various messages according to the profession of the person who will speak of his or her belief. Speaking of one person who is in law enforcement, Jones says he should say, “I believe everybody should live by the teachings of Jesus Christ. You got that? That sounds typical law and order. Everybody should live by the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

Jones also sets up points of discussion to highlight the work of the Temple and its success stories. “Different ones of you ought to have drug problems,” Jones advises. “Say, … ‘I’d end up in crime, though, if it hadn’t been for this church.’”

In Part 7, Mike Prokes talks to an unknown reporter about various activities the Temple is doing and various causes it assists, such as local food banks and hunger groups. Prokes also talks about the Temple’s relationships with different religious groups, including the Nation of Islam.

The conversation turns more animated – at least for the reporter – when they talk about Peoples Forum. When Prokes says the circulation of the Temple’s newspaper is 600,000, the reporter excitedly asks if he can contribute an article, and inquires about the next deadline (since, according to Prokes, he has just missed one). Prokes doesn’t immediately commit – “We’re asking for any kind of contributions like that, and whatever space will allow, we’ll print” – and his tone is hesitant. He does not reveal the reasons for his apparent reluctance.

In the final segment, Part 9, the president of the board for a local free/low-cost health clinic speaks with Mike Prokes about the clinic’s financial crisis and asks for assistance from the Temple. Prokes says he’ll pass the request along.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 3/23/79

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 20, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B62 #115, 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 February 2003