Q224 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

To return to the Tape Index, click here.
To read the Tape Transcript, click here. Listen to MP3.

FBI Catalogue           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “8-Aug. Peoples Town Forum”

Date cues on tape:     Items on news tape consistent with label

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Griffin Bell, Attorney General (by reference)
Andrew Young, US ambassador to UN
Rep. Wyche Fowler (D-Georgia) (by reference)
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State

Pope Paul VI
Yuri Orlov, Soviet dissident
Alexander Ginzburg, Soviet dissident
Natan Sharansky, Soviet dissident

Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister
Cheddi Jagan, head of Guyana’s Peoples Progressive Party

Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader
Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader
Roy Wilkins, civil rights leader
Members of Wilmington 10 [by reference]
Charles Pressidy [phonetic], reporter


Jonestown residents:
Tom Grubbs
John Harris


Bible verses cited:     None


Jim Jones answers several written questions about recent news events in a nightly meeting of the Jonestown community. The session is structured as a study guide for an upcoming test on current events, although Jones pauses only once or twice to give anyone else a chance to answer the questions. Instead, he asks the questions, then expounds upon an answer.

He reminds the crowd that they will need to know these answers, but rather than berate anyone – or the community at large – for not having the knowledge, he chides them in relatively gentle terms without raising his voice a single time.

Most of the topics to be studied for the test are familiar – the situation in Namibia, the Doctrine of Three Worlds, economic conditions in the US – and for the most part, his own answers reflect the pro-Soviet line that he has adopted and that has only been reinforced by his sources of news on the radio. He disparages American capitalism, neocolonialism, and religion. He describes three Soviet citizens, considered by the West to be “dissidents,” as criminals.

He nevertheless, does offer his own unconventional – but by then, familiar – views on the news, such as “the inevitability of nuclear war,” the imminent construction of concentration camps for poor and minority populations in America’s inner cities, and the use of the neutron bomb as the ultimate solution for eliminating poverty and the problem of unemployment in America’s working class. “That’s why we call the neutron bomb the nigger bomb.”

He also speaks well of his political patron in Guyana. Prime Minister Forbes Burnham has been a stalwart defender of “the revolution in Guyana.” He declares that the Peoples Temple community is “safer here in Guyana than any place in the world” in part because of Burnham’s demonstrated resistance to American hegemony and in part because the country doesn’t have “anything right now US has to have.” Burnham has “a lot of bravery, whatever faults there are in this country,” Jones concludes, then adds a heartfelt declaration: “I’m glad I brought you here. It’s the best thing I ever did.”

The session ends when Jones runs out of questions to answer, but more likely, because, as he says, “I do have to pee, because my bladder might burst.” His urgency may also account for an uncharacteristically rapid fire delivery of the news and dispensing with the evening’s business.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/2/79

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 28, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B70-10. This tape was found to contain the following:

News and commentary; a reading of current events by JIM JONES.

JONES stated that all residents of Jonestown were to speak as socialists when visitors were present.

Differences with FBI Summary:

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

Tape originally posted January 2019.