Q198 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: Labeled in part “Aug News”

Date cues on tape:     News items place tape’s date at August 12

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Rosalynn Carter, wife of President Carter
Dwight Eisenhower, former U.S. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt, former U.S. President
Sen. Herman Talmadge (D-GA)
Sen. Bennett Johnston (D-LA)
Sen. James Abourezk (D-SD)
Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH)
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY)
Dennis Kucinich, mayor of Cleveland [by reference]
John Sirica, U.S. judge in Watergate trial
Andrew Young, U.S. representative to United Nations
Evelle Younger, California Attorney General
Ray Blanton, Tennessee governor [by reference]
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Pope Paul VI, recently-deceased pope
Aldo Moro, assassinated former prime minister of Italy
Mario Soares, Prime Minister of Portugal [by reference]
Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Bishop Abel Muzorewa, leader of Zimbabwe independence
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front
Mao Tse Tung, leader of Chinese revolution
Fidel Castro, President of Cuba [by reference]
Augusto Pinochet, leader of Chilean junta
Salvador Allende, deposed president of Chile
Orlando Letelier, assassinated former foreign minister of Chile
Ronni Moffitt, Letelier aide, died in bomb attack
Michael Moffitt, Letelier aide, survivor of bomb attack
Michael Townley, assassin of Orlando Letelier [by reference]
Manuel Contreras, head of Chilean secret police [by reference]
Don Fischer, ABC commentator
David Brinkley, NBC commentator
Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of Pentagon Papers
Huey Newton, founder of Black Panther Party
David Fraser, doctor at Centers for Disease Control
M.A. Farber, New York Times reporter [by reference]
Diana Nyad, marathon swimmer [by reference]
Charles Manson, convicted murderer
Leslie Van Houten, Manson follower
Rockefeller family, American oligarchs


Bible verses cited:     None


Jim Jones reads the news for August 12, 1978.

Noting at the beginning of the reading, and reiterating it several times during the hour-long tape, Jones is using the Radio Moscow as the source of the news he passes along to Jonestown residents. As a result, most of the choice of stories, and the language used in them, reflect a pro-Soviet, anti-American tilt. Almost without exception, every mention of the United States includes a reference to monopoly capitalism, imperialism, or oppression; all foreign allies are fascist lackeys and puppets, racist (in the case of African allies), or, in the case of Israel, Zionist. By comparison, allies of the Soviet Union are democratic, revolutionary, liberationist, or – the highest compliment – socialist. China is the exception and is subject to criticism, reflecting the competition between the two communist superpowers.

Nevertheless, some of the rhetoric is undoubtedly Jones’ own. Moreso that in other news tapes, Jones refers up to ten times to the inevitability of nuclear war, and especially the assertion that China accepts that inevitability and as a result would rather have it take place sooner rather than later. “They feel that nuclear war must be gotten on with.” The specter of nuclear holocaust has always concerned Jones – at times seemingly obsessively – but rarely does he raise the issue a half dozen times in a single reading, as he does here.

Jones does add editorial comments to numerous stories, rarely missing a chance to point out how corporations get away with murder in the name of profits, or to draw comparisons between the way rich and poor are treated, or to describe how the press can destroy people’s lives.

Jones has only a couple of instructions to the community, and most are familiar: he calls on people to work harder, to clean up the “eyesores” around the community, and to report problems to the administrators. The exhortations have both immediate and long-range purposes: “important people, high-ranking people, friends of ours of various sorts” are on their way for a visit, and he wants Jonestown to shine for them, but more than that, he reminds residents of “the blood of innocents that will be on our hands” if they don’t work hard to prepare the way for future arrivals.

Some of the news items are a single headline, but the stories with which he spends the most time – or that he returns to as new information comes in – include:

  • Reports on unrest in Rhodesia;
  • Demonstrations and negotiations on the neutron bomb;
  • Paris air controllers’ strike results in air travel diverted to Soviet Union;
  • Plans for Olympics in Moscow face problems;
  • Israel still wields great influence over US (likely as result of “whitemail”);
  • Compromise tax bill in Congress favors rich and corporations;
  • Carter’s gas deregulation bill faces challenge in Senate;
  • Proposed press shield law not likely to pass;
  • California Supreme Court will review Proposition 13;
  • Sodium nitrate found to cause cancer;
  • Chilean assassin of former foreign minister returned to US for sentencing;
  • China and Japan consider anti-hegemony clause in peace treay;
  • Rosalynn Carter to attend funeral of Pope Paul VI;
  • Memphis police force remains on strike;
  • Oil company indicted over violation of federal tax regulations;
  • Ford Pinto gas tank explosion claims more lives;
  • Endangered species decisions challenged by property owners;
  • British military aircraft carrying nuclear bombs crashes near Chicago.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/8/79

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 26, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B69-24. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES reading Radio Moscow and Radio Havanna [Havana] news items and announcements.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted February 2019.