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 90/ “News April 19”
Date cues on tape: Reference to anniversary of successful resistance at Bay of Pigs, April 19, 1961
Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, president of United States
Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State
Bert Lance, Director, Office of Management and Budget
Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR)
Adolf Hitler, führer of Third ReichLeonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Aldo Moro, Prime Minister of Italy
Lopo Fortunato Ferreira do Nascimento, Prime Minister of Angola (by reference)
Feleke Gedle Giorgis, Prime Minister of Ethiopia (by reference)
Omar Torrijos, president of Panama
Aleksandro Voropaev, Tass Soviet news service correspondent (by reference)
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana
Vibert Mingo, Guyana Minister of Home Affairs
Cheddi Jagan, leader of People’s Progressive Party, Guyana opposition
Sidney Poitier, American actor
Spencer Tracy, American actor
Paul Jacobs, one of founding editors of Mother Jones
Father Paul Cabot, Roman Catholic priest on hunger strike
Esther Cassidy, supporter of Father Cabot
Stanley (likely either Gieg or Clayton)Jonestown residents:
Georgia Lee Lacy
Donna Louise Lacy, aka Donna Louise Briggs (by reference)
Tony Linton Lacy, aka Tony Linton (by reference)
Bible verses cited: None
This tape was labelled as having been recorded on April 19, 1977, and there is a direct reference to the day being an anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 19, 1961. However, the tape has numerous segments to it, and the fourth includes news on the execution of Italian Prime minister Aldo Moro, so portions of it had to have been recorded after May 9, 1978.
In the course of reading the news for April 19, 1978, Jim Jones issues a number of instructions – and articulates the foundation for a number of warnings – for the people of Jonestown. Many of the warnings would become increasingly strident and more strictly enforced as the year went on, but this represents some of their earliest pronouncements.
The goal is to monitor the movements of Jonestown residents more closely, even if the reasons for it are seemingly benign. One of the tasks of the Steering Committee, Jones declares near the end of this tape, is to devise an “emergency time accountability plan” that would track people after they left work and their houses. “There must be constant check-ups, to see that our people are secure,” Jones says.
The need for security stems from the fact that there is “this mercenary threat by our racist enemies in USA.” The Jonestown leadership has prevailed upon the local authorities to take the threat seriously, and there will be a heightened police presence to arrest anyone trying to invade the community. Jonestown itself will assist in this effort by being on “constant armed alert.”
But it’s a two-way street, and Jones devotes much more time to those who would seek to leave the community. The same police have promised to detain anyone leaving Jonestown without permission. Moreover, even if people get past these authorities, there are other dangers: “snakes that can cause you to lose your whole legs,” as well as spiders, alligators, and tigers; people who might lead you to the border with Venezuela, “only to cut their arm off to get the watches off their hand, or the feet to get their shoes off.” Only if you have “the protection of Father” – which means, adhering to community rules – will you be safe. In conclusion, as Jones says, “I would advise anyone that has anarchy in mind, don’t go out.”
Jones describes the protection that he offers early in the tape. He is both “sample and example,” by putting his life on the line, by proclaiming his right to right to die for anyone there. The definition of that protection, though, is as the embodiment of socialism, rather than to present it in a less political context – such as the ideal of dedication, loyalty or commitment – which may underlie the reason he is often frustrated and feels, as he says, that he is “not greatly appreciated by too many.”
In one of the numerous segments of this tape – out of context of any news story – Jones points out that the Soviet Union is made up of numerous ethnic groups in its 16 republics, and while none of them is black (like the majority of the Jonestown population), “racism is not practiced in the Soviet Union.” The message then becomes clear: the “Soviet ambassador … talked very favorably that in case of emergency, there’d be no question that we could be taken in, and race would be no consideration.”
At its core, though, this is a news tape. As with most of these tapes, his sources are wire services from the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact nations, and – specifically cited – Radio Free Cuba. The services provide the content, but much of the commentary – especially the use of adjectives to describe the various nations – is his. The Soviet Union is always the avant garde of world liberation, Cuba is “the only free territory of the Americas,” and East Germany is “a modern free state, where there’s no prejudice and people have all socialist benefits.” Alternatively, West Germany is “a terrible fascist state that now openly glorifies the Third Reich,” the Union of South Africa is “the dreaded fascist apartheid regime … [with a] concentration camp environment, where blacks have to be in by sundown,” and the US is populated by mercenaries and capitalists.
The tape has numerous segments with some repetition – partially attributable, as Jones says, to the fact that recorders didn’t pick up all of his newscasts so he’s not sure what he’s said before – but the stories that are the most important include the execution of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigade, which had kidnapped him some weeks earlier; the anniversary of the Cuban repulsion of US-backed mercenaries at the Bay or Pigs; and the South African decision to reveal the extent of US military aid to that and other nations to put down the people’s revolution in Angola (even as the US demands the removal of Soviet and Cuban troops from that nation). The story with the greatest detail and repetition is of the trip of Guyana’s Prime Minister Forbes Burnham to the Soviet Union and the accords of cooperation and détente he has signed with it.
Other stories include:
• Carter aide Bert Lance is indicted;
• A Roman Catholic priest continues his hunger strike as a protest against US weapons;
• The Senate ratifies the Panama Canal treaty
• A Cuban trade delegation tours Japan;
• Vietnam repeals a Chinese tank invasion;
• The US tests a neutron bomb in France;
• The US tries to control the copper market to pressure Zambia.
The news includes several points that are familiar to the people of Jonestown: both the execution of Aldo Moro and the South African decision to reveal the amount of US aid to the continent show that there is no honor among capitalists, that they will always let each other down.
The description of the Panama Canal treaty also allows Jones to show how the threat of death is an option elsewhere in the world: the treaty passed because the Panamanian president “threatened absolutely to invade the Panama Canal, even if it meant death to the Panamanian Army and people.… They took a crazy nigger stance and said we’d rather die. We’ll have a White Night, in other words, we’ll go in and invade the Panama Canal. And if it means the death of the entire Panamanian armed forces and people, we’d rather live with our national pride of liberation, than to allow US domination any longer.”
Date of transcription: March 30, 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 22, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B62 #70.
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 January 2013