Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Unidentified Individuals Speaking
Date cues on tape: October 9, 1978 (“The Soviet people today observe Constitution Day.”)
former U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin)
Gen. Douglas MacArthur
U.S. President Jimmy Carter
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party General Secretary, Soviet Union
Andrei Gromyko, Foreign Minister, Soviet Union
Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of United Nations
Ian Smith, Rhodesia Prime Minister
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Agostinho Neto, Angolan President
Hafez al-Assad, President of Syria (by reference)
Anastasio Somoza, Nicaraguan president
Augusto Pinochet, Chilean president
Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos
former South Korean President Syngman Rhee
G. Greshukin [phonetic], Soviet official
A. Penkov [phonetic], Soviet plaintiff in lawsuit
Mark Lane, attorney for Peoples Temple
Don Freed, screenwriter
Carlton Goodlett, physician and publisher of Sun Reporter, black newspaper in S.F.
Peoples Temple members and Jonestown residents:
Bible verses cited: “The USA still produces more critical commodities and still offers more services than the USSR, and standards of prosperity are generally higher, but man does not live by bread alone.” (Luke 4:4, “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” See also, Matthew 4:4)
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Michael Bellefountaine. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)
This tape consists of Jim Jones reading three international news briefings, although it is possible they all occurred at different times on the same day. As with most of the news read in Jonestown, Jones uses wire services from the Eastern Bloc of nations, and periodically adds his own commentary to that already provided by the pro-Soviet coverage.
The first part begins with a long article about Soviet industrial capacity and production catching up with the U.S. It is written in the first person, and lovingly so, so when Jones first comes across a pronoun acknowledging that, he adds, “we who love the Soviet Union” the describewho “we” are. The tilt in the article is not subtle, describing the two world wars of the 20thcentury as “the wars which were perpetrated by even US imperialism in the beginning, even using [Adolf] Hitler as a buffer.”
The topics of the news include:
• The Soviet and Syrian joint condemnation of the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel;
• SALT talks;
• Civil war in Lebanon;
• South Vietnam communiqué condemning China;
• Organizations opposed to apartheid in South Africa;
• Unrest in Nicaragua;
• The Soviet harvest;
• Cosmonauts in space;
• Soviet diplomats charged with espionage (charges which, as Jones adds, “are unfounded, as of course always they are”).
The first part of the news ends with another commentary, this one on the fairness of the Soviet court system and especially its respect for the rights of individuals.
Jones concludes the news with a reminder that there will be a test on it later on. “[P]lease be sure you are listening to the news and not shutting it off, because you are responsible for the news as it proceeds.” He then exhorts the workers to step up production – a fairly typical plea during the last months of Jonestown – and makes other announcements about keeping the community clean and about the movie scheduled for that evening.
The second part of the tape begins with a long segment of news out of North Korea, and its resistance to US imperialism. Jones dovetails the news with a plea for more production, so that the Jonestown community can help their comrades in other struggles, such as that in North Korea. “[I]f we work and produce, we can send out funds to help other systems. We also already have helped the DPRK [Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea] while we’ve been here… I would think you’d take joy in just working to make funds for Zimbabwean Patriotic Front or the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea, or Namibia. I would think that would turn you on, but some it doesn’t.”
We’re the only socialist movement in the U.S. to help these liberation groups, Jones says, so if we don’t help, who will? The question is rhetorical, but his answer reveals his heightening sense of fatalism. “We must always work, we know the night’s coming when no man can work,we know nuclear war looks inevitable, we know it almost looks an absolute, but … we join with progressives the world over in demanding: US imperialism out of Korea.”
Part three of the tape consists of more international news, including reports on the following:
• Madagascar’s support for a Soviet proposal for security of non-nuclear states;
• The situation in Rhodesia, including Rhodesia’s relations with the UN;
• The education of people in Ethiopia using Marxist texts;
• Nicaraguan strife;
• The Chinese government’s support for Chile;
• News of Soviet manned space flight, with speculation of development of space weaponry;
• Turkey’s calls for disarmament.
As before, the news includes Jones’ own perspectives, especially his fatalism. Commenting on Turkey’s calls for disarmament, for example, Jones adds, “This point of view is shared by most of the UN members, because all scientists say that there will be a nuclear war within a matter of just a few years at the maximum.”
Jones concludes the news with an exhortation to love one another more, “to put yourself out of the way more and put the suffering babies before your faces more realistically.” As the tape ends, he calls once again for the people to work hard, and warns them, there are “observers … planted” to see who cares about the community’s goals.
Date of transcription: 6/21/79
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 June 10, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B102-C20. This tape was found to contain the following: A lecture on Socialism and current events.
Differences with FBI Summary:
With one exception – the speaker is Jim Jones, not an unidentifiable person, as the FBI categorization of the tape implies – the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted April 2004