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: None
Date cues on tape: Late April 1978
Public figures/National and international names:
Lyndon Johnson, former U.S. President
Richard Nixon, former U.S. President
Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State
Sen. Lee Metcalf (D-Montana)
Dick Linnemeyer (phonetic), staff director of Senate subcommittee
Theodore Wilkinson, State Department official
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Aldo Moro, kidnapped prime minister of Italy
Salvador Allende, assassinated President of Chile
Laura Allende, sister of deposed President of Chile
Augusto Pinochet, dictator of Chile
Gen. Omar Torrijos, Panama President
Juan Pereda, military general and dictator of Bolivia (by reference)
Hassan II, King of Morocco (by reference)
Houari Boumedienne, president of Algeria
Khalid bin Abdulaziz al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister
Cheddi Jagan, leader of Peoples Progressive Party
Fielden Singh, leader of United Force party
Mohammed Shahabadeen, Guyana Minister of Justice
Hubert Jack, Guyana Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
Shridath Ramphal, former attorney general of Guyana
Justice Rudolph Harper, Guyana judge
Wilton Edwards [phonetic], Guyana State Prosecuting Counsel
Peter Drucker, financial management expert
Michael Locker, president of Corporate Data Exchange
Leon Davis, head of National Hospital Workers’ Union local 1199
William Winpisinger, head of Machinists Union
Dr. Walter Thain, doctor in US who helped Dr. Schacht over ham radio
Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Deanna Mertle, aka Jeannie Mills
Elmer Mertle, aka Al Mills
Don Ponts (by reference)
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
John (may be John Victor Stoen)
William Oliver (referred to as Billy Oliver Jackson)
Bible verses cited: None
(This tape was transcribed by Kathryn Barbour. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
In the course of reading the news on an unspecified day in late April 1978, Jim Jones spends some time discussing some proposed legislation making its way through Guyana’s Parliament. What differentiates this discussion from the rest of the reading is that it is nuanced, balancing what might be perceived as a power grab – which the Temple’s political philosophy would oppose – by the country’s ruling party, upon whose support the Temple depended. Near the end of the tape, Jones issues very specific and threatening warnings to anyone who might disobey community rules, especially when guests are present.
Much of the tape is a regular news broadcast, and much of it is laced with familiar rhetoric and characterizations: the United States is a force of monopoly, fascistic capitalism; its allies are puppets; and the USSR is “the avante-garde [of liberation], the vanguard of Marxist-Leninism… always on the right side of liberation of black people and poor people the world over.” Specific items lend themselves to specific editorials: an omnibus crime bill in the U.S. Senate shows that the country is democratic “in name only”; the invasion of Chad by France, a US ally, shows the hypocrisy of America in its criticism of the Soviet Union and Cuba for offering the same aid to its allies.
Also characteristic of Jones’ asides are his inserted references to the likelihood of thermonuclear war, a specter he raises on three separate occasions.
Some of the specific items in the news:
- The battle between the African nations of Ethiopia and its breakaway province of Eritrea is a proxy war between the US and USSR;
- President Carter and North African leaders will discuss tensions between Morocco and Algeria;
- Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is disappointed by US holding back in arms sales to his country;
- The Argentine government claims a victory over Chile in control of disputed islands;
- Aldo Moro is still held captive by the Red Brigade in Italy, even as the group attacks other business and government officials;
- A U.S. nuclear accident may contaminate the water of the Ganges River of India;
- Evidence is revealed that the CIA continues to use mind-control experiments;
- Shipping through the Panama Canal has been slowed;
- Members of the white minority population of South Africa may be resettled in Uruguay.
Many of Jones’ readings include one longer feature, and this tape is no different, spending some time on an article in a British newspaper which explores the myth of citizen ownership of publically-held corporations through stocks. The true control of the economy is with banks. “A few banks holding power over 122 of the nation’s largest corporations, is concentrated in 21 bank executives, less than one percent of the United States population.”
The specific issue in Guyanese politics that Jones focuses upon is a proposal which the ruling Peoples National Congress has put forth in Parliament that would alter the requirements for amending the Constitution. The proposal seems especially troubling to Jones because, even though Prime Minister Forbes Burnham is the Temple’s patron, the party does not represent the majority of the population. The Temple leader criticizes those who oppose the legislation, even as he himself questions some of the government’s claims on the need for the provision.
In the end, though, Jones comes down on the side of pragmatism: “The government takes strong positions by assuring us things that they technically cannot do except by referendum, but they have given us special concessions, they’ve bypassed their laws, they have guaranteed the return of people who attempt to leave our community to cause destruction or disturbances. They have guaranteed to increase their force to protect our people from outside attack.” This is what is most important.
Jones reserves his messages for the community until the end of the tape. Guests are coming to Jonestown, he says, and residents are reminded not to engage in conversation with them nor to attempt to smuggle anything out. On a related note, people may want to go to Georgetown, but it is important that they are screened first, especially if they have been in legal trouble in the past, since their enemies – in the person of Tim Stoen – may try to get them arrested.
Jones knows there are problems in Jonestown, but it’s important to recognize the “principled leadership” he represents in dealing with them. Indeed, even though he has advisors with whom he consults, “I know my principles. I know my integrity… I believe in me. I know me… I trust nothing perfectly but me.”
Along the way, he specifies their incentives for cooperation. “[Y]ou’d better get the problems worked out, because we’re together. It’s like marriage, till death do us part. You will not be able to get away from us. If you were by the remotest chance able to do something that would succeed in bringing down this group, you would be brought down also, because we have intricate designs for just such operations. People already assigned to every person that has ever once been inside this movement, that’s caused any difficulty whatsoever.”
Moreover, if they do unmask someone as a traitor or a coward or an infiltrator, “you will not go down in the way you would like to go down. There are those that are assigned to those that do treason to see that they go down in a very slow, deliberate process. … Long before I got here, the plans were already laid.”
He closes on a similar note: “If you don’t understand [my] love, don’t understand my principles, contact me, so we can live together in peace, because we will, if we have war, die together.”
Date of transcription: 6/27/79
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 25, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-54. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES reading news, commentary and announcements, followed by music.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2018.