Q940 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           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: (none)

Date cues on tape:     Part I, Spring 1978; Part II unknown

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Part II
Karl Marx, German economist, father of communisim
Vladimir Lenin, leader of Russian revolution in 1917
Malcolm X, American black activist

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Part I
Ann (several in Jonestown)
Eileen (likely either Jackson or McCann)
Jack (most likely Beam, could be Barron)
Judy (several in Jonestown)
Karl/Carl (several in Jonestown)
Kim (several in Jonestown)

Part II

Jonestown residents:
Part I
Thom Bogue (speaks)
Michaeleen Brady
Brian Davis (speaks)
Katherine Domineck (speaks)
Edie Kutulas
Marie Lawrence
Levatus V. McKinnis
Alleane Tucker (speaks)

Bible verses cited:     None


(Note: Thom Bogue’s article about his life in Jonestown, including this escape and its consequences, appears here.)

Thom Bogue and Brian Davis have been caught outside of Jonestown after the community turned out in force to hunt for the two young men who had escaped the previous night. They had supplies which they hoped would sustain them in their escape – supplies stolen from the community – as well as a number of condoms which they planned to sell. They now appear before a community meeting, listening to the anger of the crowd. As the tape opens – with the meeting in progress – a number of people propose punishments for the two young men, all of which will be aired before Jones makes his decision as to what to do.

One observation which several people in the crowd make is, merely shooting them is not enough. “Shooting you in the head’s too good for you,” one woman says. “You need to suffer, like Father suffer.” (Jones agrees, he’s not opposed to that.) One younger woman does offer one solution for at least one of the two: “he should suffer for weeks and weeks and crawl on his belly and looking at the people every time he looks up, he’d have to see the people… and then be shot on top of it.”

As people offer their ideas, Jones comments upon them, especially on the ones that seem too lenient. “[I]s it in you, dear, that you’re hoping that you’ll be able to protect your own right to be anarchistic when you choose to be?” he asks one young woman.

When another older woman says she thinks they should be punished, but doesn’t have any ideas for what it should be, Jones chides her:  “if you were going to make a recommendation as a dissent in a democracy, you ought to offer us some solution. You are not willing to impart some solution, then it’s obviously would be an anarchistic approach.” When the woman does eventually articulate a punishment on the spur of the moment – that the two young men be forced to walk around the community without clothes – Jones berates her again: “if that’s all you give this kind of infraction of our rules, to let him wander – these two – wander around here naked, you might as well just burn this place down tomorrow.” She finally proposes forty lashes with a whip, and he accepts that as a proposal.

Before Jones passes sentence – which happens after the tape ends – the two young men are asked to suggest their own punishment. They agree to the whipping, or working all night.

Jones explains why he thinks the crime of attempted escape is so serious. It plays into the hands of the conspirators, he says. It opens the community to the possibility of kidnapping – while everyone is out looking for them, someone could come in and steal their children – but more, it robs the community of its ability to handle any crisis that arose. “For all these hours, you have been responsible for anyone I’ve had to meditate, just hoping that we wouldn’t have any emergency, any hemorrhaging, any kind of emergency, ‘cause you tied up every means we had of getting people out.” In short, he says at one point, they could have destroyed the movement. “You have been a failure and a heartbreak.”

But as angry as he is, he does match the rage of the crowd. Most of the voices are lost in the clamor, but one comes through at the end, when a woman shouts, “We want you dead.”

A second part of the tape comprises a conversation between Jones and an older man speaking of his need to read more about socialism, and concludes with Jones leading the crowd in singing the Jonestown variation of the National Anthem of the Soviet Union. The segment seems to be from a previously-used tape.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/29/79

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 9, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B102-8. This tape was found to contain the following: JIM JONES speaking before a People’s rally trying to decide upon punishment for a member. The tape concludes with the rally singing “United Forever”.

Differences with FBI Summary:

The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted May 2013