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Peoples Temple Collection; Box 7, Virtual Item 10, Q49a-Jonestown meeting

 Digital Record
Identifier: ms-0183_07.10


  • Digitized: early Spring 1978


Summary Note

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 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 June 24, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B60-3. This tape was found to contain the following: JIM JONES instructing members in correct responses to anticipated newsmen questions concerning the settlement. Then further instruction on the socialist viewpoint on history (Nazi action in World War II), movies, current events. He advised the members a written test was scheduled on Tuesday concerning tonight’s meeting. Part of Side A and all of Side B was blank. The bulk of this tape consists of Jim Jones questioning different people about living conditions at the Jonestown commune and, later, about the news. The tape has numerous edits, some lasting for more than a few seconds. It is impossible to know how long the pauses are, although in some cases, they seem short, in that Jones is on the same subject and his tone of voice is about the same. At other places, the community is discussing a new subject when the tape switches back on. Nevertheless, it seems to be all from one session. The questions in the beginning seem to anticipate the arrival of outsiders -- news media, embassy officials, and/or relatives -- as Jones coaches them through their answers, with suggestions on how to reply to the questions he poses. The questions focus mainly on the work day in Jonestown, how long and how hard they work, whether children or seniors work, and whether Jones himself does physical labor. He mentions his miracles in a passing reference, but urges people not to mention those. In answering questions about religion, he says that that is not an important part of life there, that everyone practices their own beliefs. Towards the end of the tape, he asks in a more candid tone, "How many know, from their heart of hearts, that this is far better than anything you've seen in the States?" Full summary of the recording available at Alternative Considerations of Jonestown website, along with the tape transcript.

Rights Statement Note

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Physical Description Note

Original audio cassette tape recording digitized and made available as .mp3 audio file.

Publisher Note

Publisher: The Jonestown Institute

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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