Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
To read the Tape Transcript, click here. Listen to MP3 (Pt. 1, Pt. 2).
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FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One TDK C90/ “April 16, 78” longer than Maxell C90
Date cues on tape: 16 April 1978 (notation on tape cover consistent with context)
Giuseppi Verdi, Italian composer
Ludwig von Beethoven
Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer of opera
Kurt Weill, German playwright and musician
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister, by reference
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister, by reference
Terrence Fletcher, Guyana civil engineer
Taisto Kalevi Sorsa, Finland Prime minister, by reference
Ian Smith, Rhodesian prime minister
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Joshua Nkomo, Zimbabwe Patriotic Front
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Emmanuel Erskine, French general
John Wayne, film actor
Patrick Wayne, actor’s son
Josef Sabal (sp.)
Said Hussein Ali
Aldo Moro, former Italian Prime Minister
Giulio Andreotti, Italian Prime Minister
Heinz Langer, German Democratic Republic ambassador to Guyana
Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Tim and Grace Stoen
Sherwin Harris, by reference
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Bible verses cited: “[Y]ou have a leader standing in the gap of the hedge, standing on the wall, as it were, like a Nehemiah, and will not fall down in principle. He will safeguard you. He will shepherd you. He will protect you.” (Book of Nehemiah)
This tape consists of a radio broadcast Jim Jones delivered to the Jonestown community in April 1978. In addition to the daily news, it announces a new policy in dealing with thievery from the Jonestown warehouse (and from each other), problems in farm production, and the dangers of rock music. There are also other themes of making demands of the Guyana government, using White Nights as a threat, the protection offered at Jonestown, and the need to keep unfriendly relatives away from the project.
The tape begins with Jones announcing a policy on dealing with thieves in Jonestown: thieves would lose their access to the warehouse, and be subject to periodic searches. They would be under suspicion indefinitely, and in the event of a theft, a community member could make a citizen’s arrest of a past thief. There are also special incentives for people who catch and report thieves.
Jones distinguishes between the crime of theft in a socialist commune, where everyone is equal (or at least, struggling for equality) and where the crime would be against the people, and in a capitalist society, where the crime is against the moneyed class. For the same reason, reporting injustices is “pure” in socialist collective, the opposite of that in capitalist society.
Jones also announces a 24-hour amnesty for anyone to return anything to the warehouse, no questions asked. We will assume it was an honest mistake, he says. The penalty for having something with someone else’s initials on it are less clearly stated. “This will be followed by an announced selective and systematic search after the 24-hour amnesty,” he adds.
Jones speaks about the dangers of rock music, and mentions that it makes him nervous. The community is considerate, though, and allows choice. But he asks people to consider Gershwin, or classical music, especially by composers such as Beethoven and Puccini, who were sympathetic to freedom.
The agriculture issue, according to Jones – reporting what his farm analysts are telling him – is that people are changing jobs too rapidly, without letting their skills develop or the community getting the benefit of their training. The expertise is also spread too thin, so the field crews, which are too large, are supervised by people with little training. “[We] need to maintain an avant-garde cadre of permanent farm workers so that they can obtain the experience and skill to become productive farmers.”
The farm is not producing enough to meet their needs, he says. The agricultural project doing worse than other local farmers, although he doesn’t fault the effort. He attributes the disappointing results to lack of knowledge and not studying local techniques.
But farming must be the highest priority, he says. They must produce fields, or they’re murdering people who want to come to freedom. (On another tape, he expands upon that theme, by saying Jonestown can’t bring in more people without means of feeding them, but leaving them in the States subjects them to death by one of any number of ways.) There is another benefit as well: it entrenches them in the area, and in the Guyana society at large. It would build the community’s image and pre-empt any plans to remove them.
There is a general discussion of maintenance, minor security issues, gas generation and energy concerns, and policies for using the land they have.
In the news of the day, Jones reports on liberation efforts in South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, both of which he returns to late in the broadcast. He speaks of US concerns over Soviet military technology that can destroy satellites, another subject he returns to. He reports on letter bombs mailed to communist headquarters in New York and England, a clash between Israeli and Palestinian forces, John Wayne’s heart attack, Italy’s Red Brigade kidnap of Aldo Moro, the hijacking of an airplane, US-Brazilian relations, a Siberian railway under construction, a storm in western Australia, and economic news regarding IMF loans and Japanese tariffs. He reports that new Zealand is deporting immigrants, and expands upon it to encompass the U.S., England and Canada. That leads to a short discussion about racism in Europe. The news closes with a Guyanese campaign to lower the blood pressure of its citizens.
Jones interjects commentary periodically, sometimes in one-line asides – when Patrick Wayne says the anticipated death of his father would be a great loss to the nation, Jones says, dismissively, “Well, that’s a matter of opinion” – but other times, he takes a news item and relates it to Jonestown’s handling of the same issue. In the midst of reporting on Italy’s refusal to negotiate with the Red Brigade, even if it means Moro’s life, Jones compares that to how everyone in Jonestown is taken care of. “That’s the difference that you have here in this great communist confederation,” he says. “I won’t let one of you go. We pledge all of our lives to your safety. If they come for one, they must come for all.”
Jones tells the community that the Georgetown government wants them to participate in the May Day celebrations, with floats and entertainment, and to perform at three rallies. (People who produce well in the fields will be considered, he says.) Jones conditions his acceptance upon a demand that the Guyana Chronicle give them coverage of the third rally. “That is a stance I’m taking. Every day I take a stance of White Night. Fortunately, every day, it doesn’t lead to White Nights. But one has to live the crazy nigger life all the time, in order to maintain your life… You’ve seen every White Night be victorious, because I make my whole will, body, mind and soul a willing sacrifice to protect our children, our seniors.” He tempers the comments by saying, there will be no White Night over lack of coverage – since, after all, the other media besides the Chronicle has been covering them – but if they aren’t covered, they will not perform. They will not be used.
Responding to the pressure from relatives in the States, Jones tells Lian Harris to tell her father not to come, that she doesn’t want any part of him, that he can go to hell. If he tries to fly a plane in, it will be shot down. But that won’t be necessary, because the government won’t allow it. Repeating an earlier theme, he says, “That’s the stance I take every day… This is what I mean by a mind standing up, ready to die at any time, it gives you far longer guarantees, you’ll live much longer, free of worry, free of the terrible pressures that bother every other citizen on earth, because you have a leader standing in the gap of the hedge… and will not fall down in principle. He will safeguard you. He will shepherd you. He will protect you.”
He soon reiterates another recurring theme, that “our greatest key is our own solidarity. Refusal to be moved. A pledge of blood loyalty to each of us. United we stand, and divided, we will not fall. We cannot be hurt from without, only from within.” As the broadcast ends, he gives the bifurcated vision of Jonestown: “It would be a good place to build for the future, or every day be prepared to make a last stand.”
Date of transcription: April 5, 1979
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 l9, 1979, Special Agent reviewed (name deleted) the tape numbered 1B-62 Number 58. This tape was found to contain the following:
It appears to be a JIM JONES sermon/lecture on the following:
Evils and penalties of stealing
Necessities of good farming
Gas energy New items for this day (date not mentioned) as editoralized [editorialized] by JONES.
During one of the news items, JONES addressed one of the members.
“By the way LEANNE HARRIS (phonetic) be sure to let your dad know that he had better not come here, that you do not wany [want] anymore part of him, and for him to go straightwith, forthwith to hell because he will not be allowed to come into the interior. Talking about flying a plane, he will be flying in it and it will be shot down, but it can’t be flown in anymore, the government won’t allow it, so you please put on record … JONES went on to emphasize that the father was an undesirable and would not be allowed to come in.
Differences with FBI Summary:
As with several FBI summaries, this one emphasizes the most sensational sentence of the tape, in this case, that if a relative tries to fly a plane into the interior to kidnap his daughter, “it will be shot down.” With two word summaries, it acknowledges that other topics were discussed, such as the policy on thievery, gas energy, etc.
Tape originally posted May 1999