Serial 2238

May 17, 1979

Honorable Philip R. Sharp
Member of Congress
United States Post Office Building
400 North A Street
Richmond, Indiana 47374
Dear Congressman Sharp:

Reference is made to your inquiry of April 12, 1979, to the Department of State on behalf of your constituents, [names deleted]. The inquiry was referred by the Department of State to this Bureau on May 10, 1979, because it concerns the tape-recording allegedly made by the People’s Temple during a mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana; an event which is currently under FBI investigation.

The tape in question is considered to be evidentiary in nature and pertinent to our ongoing investigation into the facts surrounding the death of Congressman Leo J. Ryan at Port Kaituma, Guyana, on November 18, 1978. Accordingly, we are unable to release the tape at this time.

This Bureau is aware of the tape played by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) on March 15 and 16, 1979, which purports to be portions of a true copy of the original tape. We are unable to comment on the source or the authenticity of the NBC tape, however, the tape was not made available to NBC by the FBI. For your information, authorized copies of the original tape are in the possession of the Government of Guyana, the United States Department of State, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the FBI.

Sincerely yours,
Donald W. Moore, Jr.
Assistant Director
Criminal Investigative Division

[Page 2]

Honorable Philip R. Sharp

Note: The above Congressional inquiry was prompted by Congressman Sharp’s constituent, [name deleted] who is the [word deleted] of the Reverend Jim Jones’s wife, Marcelein [Marceline]. [Name deleted] believed that their family should be permitted to have a copy of the “Death Tape” due to their inaccurate assumption that the “Government” has permitted NBC to have a copy of the tape for public broadcast. The above response to Congressman Sharp serves to correct the record in that matter and furnish the FBI’s position regarding release of the tape.

Originally posted on March 9th, 2018.

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