Q254 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           Jim Jones Speaking

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

Date cues on tape:     Joseph Califano found in contempt of Congress, August 17, 1978; balloonists successfully cross Atlantis, August 16 

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Jimmy Carter, US President
John Kennedy, assassinated US President [by reference]
Richard Nixon, former US President
Joseph Califano, Secretary, Health, Education and Welfare
Griffin Bell, Attorney General
Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State
Alexander Haig, head of NATO
Senator John Stennis (D-MS)
Senator Herman Talmadge (D-GA)
Rep. John Moss (D-CA)

Adolf Hitler, German Führer
Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister
Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt
Elias Sarkis, President of Lebanon
Agostinho Neto, President of Angola
Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire
Hua Kuo-fenj, chairman of Chinese Communist Party

Judge Perkins [first name unknown], Trinidad commission of inquiry
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Hamilton Green, Guyana Minister of Health and Labor

Howard Jarvis, co-author of Proposition 13
Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of JFK [by reference]
Martin Luther King, civil rights activist
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King
Grace Walden, witness to King assassination
Wayne Chastain, Memphis reporter on King assassination
Ben Abruzzo, trans-Atlantic balloonist [by reference]
Maxie Anderson, trans-Atlantic balloonist [by reference]
Larry Newman, trans-Atlantic balloonist [by reference]

Bible verses cited: None


Jim Jones reads the news for an unspecified date, likely August 17 or 18, 1978.

In contrast to almost every other news tape from this period, the reading is remarkably free of invective rhetoric and rote characterizations of various nations of the world. The word “capitalism” is used only as a description, not an insult, and the words “fascism” and “imperialism” do not appear at all.

The reading covers a number of news stories, apparently as they are coming off the wire of the various services he uses, and he spends extra time with only one.

China’s Doctrine of Three Worlds, articulated by Mao Zedong (Tse-Tung) a few years earlier, holds that the world’s two superpowers – the USA and USSR – represent the first world; industrialized nations, especially of Europe, comprise the Second World; and the underdeveloped nations represent the Third World, and are led by China. Jones has expanded upon it by representing the beliefs of current Chinese leaders that “nuclear war is inevitable, and that it will be brought about soon. Some theorists say that China wants that to happen now rather than later, before there’s a proliferation or spreading of nuclear weapons all over the world, which would mean the end of mankind.” This belief also captures Jones’ lifelong vision of the world ending in nuclear holocaust.

As happens in other tapes, Jones does use stories in the news as an teaching opportunity or to show how world events affect Jonestown, usually by showing how Jonestown serves as a welcome alternative to some evil or, in this case, how the community actively promotes better living conditions. A ship carrying millions of dollars of marijuana has been seized, news to which Jones responds: “We are grateful in this community that no such dope is available, and we have no need for it, because of the light of living in a cooperative society and feeling productive. Everything that grows is a part of us, everything that is built represents each individual as well as a collective.”

The other shorter news items include:

  • International conference on racism urges end to colonization and apartheid governments;
  • Soviet Union says Mideast peace plan will work only when all nations are involved;
  • USSR describes Western characterization of 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia as slander;
  • Soviet Union declares racism a form of spiritual enslavement;
  • Chinese prime minister tour of Eastern bloc takes him to Yugoslavia;
  • Soviets plan to train 130,000 foreign students from Third World;
  • US and China agree to student exchange program;
  • China and Vietnam clash over presence of ethnic Chinese at border;
  • Zaire and Angola extend peace feelers to each other;
  • Palestinians decry Israeli bombing of apartment building that killed 200;
  • Lebanese phalangist forces clash with UN peace-keepers;
  • Carter vetoes defense authorization bill;
  • House committee votes to hold HEW secretary in contempt for refusing to turn over government documents on drug companies;
  • House special committee on assassinations hears testimony of witnesses in MLK slaying;
  • New audio disputes Warren Commission, shows that more shots fired in JFK assassination;
  • New York City newspapers still on strike;
  • Tax fighter Howard Jarvis seeks a national tax cut.

FBI Summary:

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 30, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B70-40. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES reading news and announcements.

(Handwritten note underneath: special news?)

Differences with FBI Summary:

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