Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Tracs 60/ News April 20, 1978
Date cues on tape: News items consistent with tape ID note
Jimmy Carter, US president
Gloria Carter Spann, sister of Jimmy Carter [by reference]
William Carter Spann, nephew of Jimmy Carter [by reference]
Cyrus Vance, US Secretary of State
Vladimir Terebilov, Minister of Justice of the Soviet Union
Winston Churchill, Member of Parliament, grandson of Winston Churchill
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, president of France
Bruno Kreisky, Chancellor of Austria
Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of West Germany
Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of Third Reich
António de Oliveira Salazar, former Prime Minister of Portugal
Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain
Aldo Moro, former Prime Minister of Italy
Hafez Assad, Syrian President
Salim al-Hoss, Lebanon prime minister
Abdu al-Kassim Mohammed Ibraim [phonetic], Secretary General of Sudanese Socialist Union
Sunao Sonoda, Japanese Foreign Minister
George Meany, head of AFL-CIO
Bible verses cited: None
Jim Jones reads the news for April 20, 1978.
While many of the newscasts from the period come from a variety of sources, this particular reading seems to be exclusively Soviet in nature. With a few exceptions, the stories feature news from the Soviet Union – including emphases on the arrival of official delegations from Libya, Sudan, Austria, and even the United States – or present world news as they affect the USSR, such as the news that the island of Cyprus is drifting away from US influence and into the Soviet orbit, that several communist governments have offered asylum to members of Italy’s Red Brigade, and that the coverage of a march of Native Americans across the United States appears only in the Soviet media. In addition, Jones extols the communist nation in such detail at one point that it seems to be a script, although his pledge that Jonestown will demonstrate its pledge to stand with it “in death or in life [as] a significant contribution to world liberation” is likely his own. Finally, Jones repeats the phrase “vanguard of world liberation” several times to describe the Soviet Union, including at least once where he stumbles over the phrase, suggesting that it is in the text and not a spontaneous editorial observation.
Other word choices – especially in describing the West – are more likely Jones’. The US is consistently reactionary and fascist, and is ruled by monopoly capitalists. Its allies are equally evil and/or are puppets of US militarism or Israeli Zionism.
As he often does elsewhere, Jones presents object lessons from the news of the day for the Jonestown community. The Red Brigade’s execution of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro – conducted after the Italian government refused to concede to a single demand made by the radical group – demonstrates that capitalists don’t take care of each other the way people do in Jonestown. “There’s no loyalty amongst thieves, and capitalists are thieves, so there’s no loyalty at all among capitalists.” At the same time, he does suggest that the Red Brigade’s stated position of summoning an era of fascism as a necessary evil on the road to revolution “is a little shaky position, in my mind, for personal commentary, in view of the thermonuclear war. But it is on the side of right,” he adds, noting that the Soviets agree with the strategy.
The specter of nuclear war returns later in the newscast. After describing the neutron bomb as “dread, criminal, barbaric,” he states that France’s recent test of the weapon “escalated another step in the nuclear madman’s race that will undoubtedly lead to nuclear war.” Jones’ solution to the crisis is for everyone listening to his broadcast to “produce with absolute intensity, to get our people out of there. More people are coming in every day, but we’ve got to get them out in mass numbers and free them before the hell breaks loose that is inevitable to come.”
Jones offers another glimpse of his vision for the people of Jonestown. After reading an item about the effects of the moon upon the tides of the ocean as well as the human body – a subject he raised several times during Jonestown’s final year – he notes that some of those effects are counterproductive. “Some have thought hostilely of looking back,” he says, then adds that they should suppress those thoughts, that they “should feel proud to be here…
“[Q]uit being sullen and arrogant when you pass your leader,” he continues, “and try to hide it, quit forming close family accords and special alliances that we are taking note of, and unify yourself with the principle, and get your mind out of your self-pity and morass and paranoia, which is a class-consciousness enemy, narcissism, because when you are truly a zero, or trying to reach it, you don’t worry about paranoia.”
Other items in the news include:
- The Lebanese government resigns;
- The World Peace Council – “that for years has been pro-Soviet” – convenes in Athens;
- The Portuguese Communist Party votes against the formation of a coalition government;
- The negotiations for a United Mine Workers’ contract stall, even after the strike ended in defeat;
- Israel produces a Roots-like television series about the Holocaust.
As with many of these news tapes, there is a feature-length piece near the end, this one discussing the negotiations between Japan and the USSR on a peace treaty. It shows the same pro-Soviet tilt as the rest of the tape, e.g.: “[The treaty] has not yet been concluded, and not because of the falsely-intransigent position of the Soviet Union, but because of Japanese side has made the conclusion of a treaty conditional on utterly groundless, and therefore obviously unacceptable territorial claims.”
There is a significant difference between the two sides of the tape, although it seems as if Jones is continuing with the same story from one side to the other. Whereas he is alert and his voice is steady on side one, it deteriorates markedly and precipitously on side two. He has long pauses during which he moans softly, he loses his way in the text, and several times, he announces the conclusion of the daily news briefing, only to resume reading another item.
Date of transcription: 3/29/79
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 March 19, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B62-84. This tape was found to contain the following:
This tape contains a recording of the afternoon news announcements made by JONES to the people of JONESTOWN. Subjects included elections in Syria, United Mine Workers contract dispute with Mine Owners and Japanese – Chinese relationships.
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:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.