Q229 Summary

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

To read the Tape Transcript, click here. Listen to MP3 (Pt. 1Pt. 2).
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FBI Catalogue           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “Aug 15 News”

Date cues on tape: Contents consistent with note

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Section 1
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
John F. Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Griffin Bell, Attorney General
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated presidential candidate
Rep. Tip O’Neill (D-MA), Speaker of the House
Rep. Philip Crane (R-IL)
Pope Paul VI [by reference]
Hua Kuo-fenj, premier of China [by reference]
Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran

Jerry Brown, California governor
Evelle Younger, California Attorney General

Adolf Hitler, German Führer
Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Fulgencio Batista, former Cuban dictator
Che Guevara, Latin American Revolutionary
Tamara Bunke, companion to Che Guevara
Anastasio Somoza Debayle, President of Nicaragua

Martin Luther King, civil rights activist
Ralph Abernathy, civil rights activist
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King
Cesar Chavez, organizer of farm workers
Angela Davis, University professor, member of Communist Party

Billy Graham, American evangelist
Victor Marchetti, author of Cult of Intelligence [by reference]
Myron Farber, jailed New York Times reporter
Daniel Ellsberg, Defense Department analyst who leaked Pentagon Papers
George Meany, labor leader, head of AFL-CIO
Patricia Hearst, newspaper heiress, kidnapped by SLA in 1974
Aristotle Onassis, shipping magnate
Christine Onassis, daughter of shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis
Sergei Kauzov, husband of Christine Onassis [by reference]
Diana Nyad, US long-distance swimmer [by reference]

Alejo Carpentier, Cuban writer
Alexis Marquis, book critic, Venezuelan professor
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, writer
Carlos Fuentes, writer
Alix Kates Shulman, writer
Donella and Dennis Meadows, writers

Don Freed, author and screenwriter [by reference]
Kathy Hunter, Ukiah reporter who visited Guyana in 1978 [by reference]

Henry Weinstein, LA Times reporter
Stephen Bingham, radical attorney
Alfred Mitchell Bingham, father
Sylvia Bingham, mother
Hiram Bingham, grandfather
Jonathan Bingham, uncle, congressman
George Jackson, radical black prisoner, Bingham’s client
Allan Mancino, Soledad prisoner
Rennie Davis, antiwar activist
Maharj Ji, guru

Crusades figures
Godfrey, king of Jerusalem
Richard of England, Coeur de Lion
Louis IX, king of France [by reference]
Frederick Barbarossa, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
Count Stephen of Blois
Adela, wife
Bohemond I of Antioch
Raymond, Count of St. Gilles

Section 2
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Fulgencio Batista, former Cuban dictator

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Section 1
Tim Stoen
Section 2
John Haynes
Wade and Mabel Medlock [by reference]
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Section 2
Richard (speaks)
Thelma [Cannon or Jackson]
Jonestown residents:
Section 1
Teresa King
Willie Malone
Larry Schacht
Section 2
Joe Beam, aka Joseph Helle
Chuck Beikman
Walter Cartmell
Judy Ijames
Tom Grubbs
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Rennie Kice (speaks)
Richardell Perkins

Bible verses cited:

“Become all things to all men that by any means you might save the more. That proverb goes back to Christian-Judeo roots.” (I Corinthians 9:21-22, “To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”)


This tape consists principally of Jim Jones reading the daily news for August 15, 1978. There is however the remnants of an undated Jonestown meeting at the end of the tape, with the balance of it likely recorded over by the news reading.

In the meeting, which seems to be from a period later in Jonestown’s history – perhaps earlier in the summer of 1978 – Jones laments the damage that former members have done to the movement, after everything he has done for them in the past. He is also leery about what current residents are thinking. He has always criticized gossip, but now, it has become a bigger problem. While he would like to give people more time off from work, they can’t afford it, both in terms of lost production but also “because of people plotting, talking. You can’t give them enough time to plot to do something.”

Both he and Marceline Jones are critical of people making decisions on their own without proper consultation. Workers are drawing conclusions on their own or coming to arrangements with each other, acting on “half information.” These decisions need to go through the Jonestown leadership.

The meeting also includes the tape’s main reference to suicide. In talking about Cuba in the years since Castro took power, Jones notes that the people took risks, but the risks were worthwhile, since they overcame oppression. It’s the same for the people of Jonestown. “Sure, we risked our lives. All this crap about suicide, it wasn’t suicide. It was a mass demonstration against injustice. … If we all have to die, we will stand up for everyone’s life.”

The majority of the tape consists of several segments constituting the reading of the news, with periodic announcements and a number of lengthier pieces. Jones makes numerous editorial asides with invective that is often quite fierce – the US is not only a racist garrison state, but, as he strings in one clause, it is “that fascist military state of USA, monopoly capitalist imperialism” – matched only by his characterizations of Zionist Israel.

The latter comments come during his reading of an article from an unknown source, and some of the language may be in the article itself. The piece on the history and motivations of Zionism comes from a Marxist perspective, he says, and shows why Israel will never agree to the creation of a Palestinian state. Zionism provides a religious cover to the worst elements of capitalism and fascism, he says. The conspiratorial allegations could be from the piece itself, although Jones has spoken of them before; the repeated assertions that Israel’s actions may result in a “nuclear hell” are more likely those of Jones himself.

Other longer pieces include a geography lesson on Surinam, Guyana’s neighbor to the east; a Los Angeles Times article about Stephen Bingham, a radical lawyer who was indicted for allegedly smuggling a gun into black revolutionary prisoner George Jackson at Soledad in California in 1971; and a short history of the Crusades. As with the piece on Zionism, the synopsis on the Crusades concludes with an overtly Marxist message, although Jones seems to make numerous asides along the way, comparing the Crusades to current times in terms of failing economic systems, the mistreatment of blacks, and the “asininity” of religion, such as that practiced by Billy Graham, who says “that God would not suffer nuclear bombs to fall on America.” In a laughing dismissal of Jesus, Jones ties the oppression of Christianity with the need for Marxism: “Jesus, if he ever did live and if he ever did really walk the earth, has certainly been able to create a great opiate … that diverts the people from the class struggle and economic awareness, so they can build a utopia on earth, which we have the best. And,” he concludes, “we should be grateful.”

The announcements reflect the period in Jonestown’s history. The Federal Communications Commission wants to cut off their ham radio, but they won’t succeed. Evidence has emerged – from their writer friend, Don Freed – that Tim Stoen was in “the conspiracy” before he joined the Temple. Jones still has his powers of prophecy, as the people of Jonestown want to see for themselves by reviewing tapes from earlier than month, in which their leader predicted the earthquake that rattled California (which in fact, he did, on July 19 link to 311 ). And throughout it all, Jones remarks on how little sleep he is getting, how much pain he is in, and how much he continues to do for them.

Jones does remind the people that they need to turn in their autobiographical sketches – he refers to them as “interviews” – which, as described on other tapes, will be the foundation for a book and/or movie about the Temple movement. But, he cautions, just talk about yourselves and what a new person each of you is. “Please don’t politicize,” he adds. “Don’t be talking things in terms of capitalism and socialism.”

Among the shorter news items covered:

• During an interview, Attorney General Griffin Bell discusses recently-released files on the Martin Luther King assassination, as well as the Wilmington 10, a reporter jailed for refusing to turn over sources, and his own contempt citation by a congressional committee;
• The House assassination committee will hear James Earl Ray, MLK’s convicted killer;
• Two candidates – one from each party – move towards challenging Carter in 1980;
• Pope Paul VI is dead;
• The Chinese premier is en route to Iran to discuss his Doctrine of Three Worlds;
• A Cuban writer is celebrated as the most important storyteller in the Spanish language;
• Nicaraguan forces battle against hunger strikers, protestors and guerilla activists;
• Fire and police officers continue to strike in Memphis, despite court orders;
• Christine Onassis returns to her husband in Moscow.

FBI Summary:

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 May 29, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B70-15. This tape was found to contain the following:

A recording of current events by JIM JONES

Differences with FBI Summary:

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