Q253 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:     On or shortly after June 22, 1978 (Earthquake in Salonica, Greece on June 20; Antonio Esposito assassinated June 22)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State
Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator (by reference)

Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Vladimir Ilich Lenin, father of Russian Revolution, first leader of Soviet Union

António de Oliveira Salazar, former Prime Minister of Portugal
Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia
Antonio Esposito, head of Italian police anti-terrorist unit
Giovanni Leone, former president of Italy

Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Unnamed Egyptian ambassador to Portugal
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Mohamed Babu, Zanzibari revolutionary nationalist

Salvador Allende, President of Chile, deposed in 1973 coup
Victor Jara, Chilean poet
Eric Gairy, prime minister of Grenada
Cheddi Jagan, leader of People’s Progressive Party, Guyana opposition party
Frank Hope, Guyana Minister of Finance
Walter Rodney, political activist in Guyana
Mohammed Shahabadeen, Guyana Minister of Justice
Paul Tiddiman [phonetic], head, Guyana Council of Churches

Muhammad Ali, American boxer
W.E.B. duBois, black author, civil rights activist
Tom Feelings, black illustrator and activist
Joe Noah [phonetic], black victim of white “thugs” in New York

Bible verses cited:      None


Jim Jones reads the news of the day, within a few days of June 22, the day of the Red Brigade assassination of an Italian police official to which Jones alludes.

The newscast is like many others from the period. Jones reads from the wire service that came into Jonestown, sometimes seemingly in real time. There are numerous shorter news items, as well as one longer analytical piece, in this case, a review of a collection of essays by black author and activist W.E.B. duBois, published by Black Liberation Press.

The news originates from Soviet or Eastern bloc news sources, in that there is much criticism both of the Chinese communist government and of the “imperialist” Western powers and their protégés around the world, especially in Africa. Indeed, as with other newscasts, the description of the U.S. is uniformly as a nation of “monopoly capitalism,” Europe is a collection of puppets, South Africa is an “apartheid concentration camp system,” and Rhodesia is ruled by an “illegal president, racist, fascist Ian Smith.” As a counterpoint, he describes the USSR as “the true vanguard of world liberation.” It is hard to know whether these adjectives were included with the news, or whether Jones supplied them on the fly as he spoke.

Certain asides are undoubtedly his own, though. He makes reference to the inevitability of nuclear war and/or World War III no fewer than four times, including one he attributes to an essay which duBois wrote in 1919. Following a short news item about Muhammad Ali’s praise for the Soviet Union, Jones pauses before adding that the American boxer “is an idealist Muslim who believes in God, and if he had any realistic judgment, he would know he was in trouble.”

Jones also makes correlations between events in the world news and their lessons for Jonestown. “Namibia may yet get unilateral independence, because of the swelling tides of support that are growing in African neighbors,” he says early in the newscast. “That is the essential that has kept us alive here, and enabled us to progress, grow and be successful. In unity only is survival and strength.”

Among the events Jones discusses:

• China claims Cuba and the USSR are destabilizing Africa, but Yugoslav President Tito rises to the Soviet Union’s defense;
• Europe urges a cooling of tensions, but the US discounts this as evidence of weakness;
• The U.S. Senate passes a bill suspending aid to countries that assist terrorists, although it includes a loophole for American allies;
• Members of the Red Brigade kill the head of an Italian police anti-terrorism unit, as well as a prison official who tortured inmates;
• Blacks have the right to sit in Rhodesia’s National Assembly, but have no power;
• A black man is tortured to death by white thugs in a New York City apartment.

Jones also reports on three stories from Guyana, including remarks that might trouble the Temple’s patrons in the government of Forbes Burnham. Later, during his reading of the duBois review, he speaks favorably about Walter Rodney, a Guyanese activist who founded the Working People’s Alliance, which became the most effective opposition to Burnham’s Peoples National Congress.

Jones’ final reflection of the half-hour tape is a tribute to Victor Jara, a Chilean poet and singer who stood up to the military forces which overthrew the country’s elected socialist president, and who – according to Jones – was executed in a stadium before thousands of other political prisoners. “We’d like to hear his music right after I finish,” Jones adds.

The tape closes with his familiar exhortation to Jonestown residents to step up production, to be mindful that any slacking off or waste on their part will result in “[s]ome people’s chances for freedom [being] killed,” and to report on those who do not do their fair share. He ends with his traditional declaration of love for his people.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/11/79

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 May 30, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B70-39. This tape was found to contain the following:

REV JIM JONES with news of world events. At approximately 6:30 minutes into this tape JIM JONES remarks about telling PAUL TIDDIMAN, Guyana Council of Churches, something that JONES had learned about him through his intelligence sources to get him to support a July 10 referendum in Guyana. Book review of W.E.B. Dubois book of “Importance of Africa on World History.”

This tape was reviewed and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investiation [investigation] of the murder of Congressman RYAN.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted July 2014