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 “9/22/78 News”
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with identification note
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
John Kennedy, assassinated U.S. President
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
J. Edgar Hoover, head of FBI
Gary Thomas Rowe, FBI informant in car with men who killed Viola Liuzzo
Margaret Thatcher, leader of Conservative Party in Great Britain
Reza Pahlavi, The Shah of Iran
Mohammad Mosaddegh, former premier of Iran [by reference]
Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
W. E. B. DuBois, black author, civil rights
Paul Robeson, American black actor, musician, activist
Paul Robeson Jr., son of Paul Robeson [by reference]
Lloyd L. Brown, friend of Paul Robeson
Baum Leavall, black newspaper publisher
Sergeant Thomas Cook of the Birmingham police department
Margaret Mead, anthropologist
Huey Newton, leader of Black Panther Party
Preston Callins, black tailor in Oakland [by reference]
Tom Orloff, Alameda County District Attorney [by reference]
Howard Jarvis, co-author of Proposition 13 [by reference]
Paul Gann, co-author of Proposition 13 [by reference]
Randy Hill, Teamster picketer killed during Safeway strike [by reference]
Robert Lovingier, Teamster picketer injured during Safeway strike [by reference]
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco physician, newspaper publisher
Mark Lane, Peoples Temple attorney
Don Freed, author and screenwriter
Richard Parr & Parr family
The Duncan family
Mrs. Garcia, “John Harris’ wife”
Ollie Wideman Smith
Bible verses cited: None
Jim Jones reads the news for September 22, 1978.
More important to him on this day – and by extension, to the people of Jonestown – is the imminent arrival of guests from the US, a group which consists both of friendly relatives, and potential financial supporters of the agricultural project. These guests may or may not have heard of the efforts to bring down Jonestown, so the leadership demands certain behaviors of the community. Residents are to smile and greet the newcomers warmly, but are not to linger, and are not to engage in conversation “unless you have been assigned to do so.” They are not to have much physical contact or to pass or receive any notes. Jones warns that those who violate these orders will face “the worst fate ever,” and near the end of the tape, a surrogate comes on to specify that violators “will be enjoying a two-week holiday on Public Services.” Even though the message delivered on a half dozen separate occasions in the course of the tape, it apparently is not enough: Jones signs off with the request that, “This is to be repeated, again and again until just before our guests arrive.”
There are several other warnings along the way. At one point, Jones says they have installed microphones around the settlement, and some folks will be wearing them in their lapels. “So take my word, gossip will be caught. If you don’t believe in divine mind, you will believe in microphones placed around that can be heard.”
He also says that there is a CIA agent among them – the agent is apparently already there, not among the arriving guests – but they have nothing to worry about. “It’s a dead agent, I can assure you of that. It’s a dead agent. Your time’s running out. But nonetheless, if you’d like to live a few more days, just behave yourself.”
The main news of the day revolves around the fallout of a statement that Andrew Young, the US Ambassador to the UN, made a month earlier, that thousands of political prisoners, mostly black, are in America’s jails. Jones begins his coverage by reading a lengthy description about the last years of Paul Robeson, a black actor and speaker who was blackballed by American society, and considers whether he should be considered a political prisoner. Later, he notes that President Carter challenged Young’s assertion, then follows with a report of a scathing attack on the president by a conference of black lawyers.
On several occasions, he ends a piece of news about problems in the US with an observation of how wonderful it is in Jonestown. Three of their most ardent defenders – Carlton Goodlett, Mark Lane, and Don Freed – want to retire there, and why not? There is genocide there and peace here. The community can support them and hundreds of others still in the States, waiting to come to freedom. There may be food shortages in the US, but in Jonestown, they have an abundance of fruits and vegetables growing, and wild game in the jungle.
While most of the news come from the usual wire services, Jones does speak extemporaneously for an extended period at one point, reviewing the grievances he has against the US and its policies, but none resonate for him as much – nor does he spend more time on anything else – as on his lifelong belief that “Nuclear war is bound to come.”
Among the other news items:
- Tensions flare between the USSR and China over their relations with India;
- Two million people have died in Kampuchea under the Khmer Rouge;
- Margaret Thatcher leads in the polls to be the next British Prime Minister;
- Leaders of the Church of Scientology face federal charges;
- Synanon will lose its exemption on property taxes;
- The FBI helped the Ku Klux Klan kill blacks, including Freedom Riders;
- The Oakland tailor who testified against Huey Newton says he was coerced;
- Blacks have been attacked by the KKK in a half dozen incidents in recent weeks;
- White gangs have also attacked black youths in urban areas;
- Picketers who are striking Safeway stores in California have been attacked.
Date of transcription: 6/13/79
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 1B93-3. This tape was found to contain the following:
World news and remarks from JIM JONES, in which JONES advises that visitors were due the day of this broadcast, the DUNCAN’s, the PARR’s and the wife of JOHN HARRIS were expected. Later, on the same tape JONES advises that Russians are scheduled to visit, as well as a MARY BLACK, who has authority to assign $1/4 million United States dollars, hopefully for the Jonestown project. All listeners are advised to speak favorably of the project to all outsiders, or be banned to “public service”. Further, Mrs. GARCIA and possibly a Mrs. STANSFIELD will visit.
Differences with FBI Summary:
Other than the small error that Jonestown resident Mary Black did not have financial authority over any outside money, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.