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: Labeled in part “Aug 3 News”
Date cues on tape: News items – together with Jones’ mention of day of the week – consistent with identification note
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Sen. George McGovern (D-South Dakota) [by reference]
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Harold Brown, U.S. Secretary of Defense
Griffin Bell, U.S. Attorney General
Paul Warnke, SALT negotiator
Thomas P. Gresai, Federal District Judge
Lord David Owen, foreign secretary of Britain
Margaret Thatcher, leader of Conservative Party in Great Britain
Colonel Moammar Khadafy, Libyan leader
Salim Rubai Ali, South Yemen assassinated president
Ali Nasir Muhammad, South Yemen new president
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Julius Nyere, president of Tanzania
Huang Hua, Chinese Foreign Minister
Kim Il Sung, President of North Korea
Kim Bo-hyon, Kim Il Sung’s grandfather [by reference]
Viola Burnham, Prime Minister’s wife
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana
Fitz Uriel Alexander Carmichael, Guyana Minister of Forestry
Gaskin, [FNU], Guyana economic development regional director
Comrade James, [FNU], Chairman of the Guyana General Workers Union
Comrade Sinclair, [FNU], Guyana government official
Pablo Marcano Garcia, Puerto Rican nationalist
Steve Segal, lawyer for Cuevas and Garcia
Lolita Lebrón, Puerto Rican nationalist
Rafael Cancel Miranda, Puerto Rican nationalist
Irvin Flores Rodriguez, Puerto Rican nationalist
Oscar Collazo, Puerto Rican nationalist
Malcolm X, assassinated black leader
Elaine Brown, Black Panther
Huey Newton, Black Panther
Benjamin Hooks, president of the NAACP
Alan Bakke, plaintiff in landmark Supreme Court case
Helen Whitney, writer and director of Youth Crime
Beikman [likely Rebecca]
Ricky [several in Jonestown]
Bible verses cited:
“We denounce Bibles or any other books that say slaves must obey their masters.” [Colossians 3:22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;”]
Jim Jones reads the news for August 3, 1978.
The tape consists of three segments, all recorded the same day. There are many aspects of this tape that are similar to others and familiar to the residents of Jonestown who heard these broadcasts.
• The sources of the news include the BBC, the New York Times foreign edition, the Voice of America, but Jones depended more heavily on Radio Sweden and Radio Moscow. While especially the latter sources likely included descriptive adjectives in their coverage, it is equally likely that many of the descriptions came from Jones. The United States is condemned for being racist, capitalistic, imperialist, and hypocritical; its allies are fascist lackeys and puppets; and the Soviet bloc is democratic, a force of liberation and freedom, and concerned about human rights. “It is obvious that the socialist systems are superior,” he says at one point.
• Jones makes several references to the inevitability of nuclear war, and repeats his claim that China’s “doctrine of Three Worlds… is based upon the absolute acceptance by China that nuclear war is a reality, and attempts to bring about at least a constructive socialist world in the aftermath of that nuclear holocaust.”
• Jones also exhorts his followers to work hard, presenting both carrot and stick incentives. Guyana is beautiful, and Jonestown is a showplace of pure communism and community accomplishments; in addition, the people back in the States long for freedom from oppression and especially from the conspiracy that threatens them all.
This is one of the few tapes recorded in Jonestown in which Jones raises the subject of religion at all. There were no sermons per se once the emigration to Jonestown was complete, and most of the references to the Christian Bible – other than invocation of the day of Pentecost – were critical. This tape offers one of those critical references. Using Karl Marx’ words that religion is the opiate of the people, Jones adds, “We do not believe in such trash. We denounce Bibles or any other books that say slaves must obey their masters. We are our own masters of our own destiny.”
What they do believe in is gratitude. “Let us synchronize gratitudes. That’s the matter of just the evolution of mind, not credulity, for we believe not in God, deity or supernatural, but we do believe that there are dimensions to the mind, and we center that in the office.”
There are a few lengthy readings. One is a Marxist perspective on Bakke, the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, describing it as “a ruling class, monopoly class, capitalist weapon.” He also closes the third segment of the reading with a report on a speech by a Guyanese minister which praises North Korea.
The other segments close as do most of Jones’ news tapes, with requests for increased work, stepped-up productivity, and ideas to make money in support of the project.
Among the news items reported on this tape:
• The dollar increases in value on world market after being propped up by banks;
• France captures terrorists at the Iraqi Embassy, and in Britain, there’s been an assassination attempt on the Iraqi ambassador;
• The Arab League reconsiders the dollar as a medium of exchange;
• Tensions between North and South Yemen increase, causing split in Arab League;
• The British Conservative Party opposes sanctions on Rhodesia;
• Teen unemployment is rising;
• Five activists seize the Chilean consular office in Puerto Rico, demanding freedom for political prisoners;
• A proponent of impeachment of Andrew Young dies in a plane crash;
• Carter’s plans for rebuilding fallout shelters meets with national criticism;
• A federal judge finds Griffin Bell in contempt of court;
• The head of the NAACP attacks rightwing forces in America.
Date of transcription: 6/11/79
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 27, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B69-31. This tape was found to contain the following:
News and commentary for Thursday by JIM JONES. News items included topics such as:
1. ABC story re youth terror
2. Value of the dollar
4. North and South Yemem [Yemen]
7. U.S. unenployment [unemployment] and racism
9. BAKKE decision
Miscellaneous announcement followed and JONES continued to talk about other news such as:
1. ELAINE BROWN and HUEY NEWTON
2. ANDREW YOUNG
A late news bulletin by JONES was next read and then he started to talk about air raid shelters, California’s Proposition 13, and Attorney General BELL and the FBI.
The tape concludes with JONES talking about KOREA.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted June 2019.