WASHINGTON (Aug. 21)
United States officials said today that the Czechoslovak Government conducted an autopsy on the body of Charles H. Jordan, executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee without notifying United States diplomatic authorities in time for them to attend. The Czech authorities announced that it had been established that the cause of death was drowning and that there were no marks of violence on the body.
The autopsy by a Czech Government pathologist was held from 7 a.m. to 9:20 a.m., Prague time, today. The United States Embassy in Prague was not notified until a few minutes before the autopsy was concluded, making it impossible for the American consul to arrive to witness the proceedings. The consul arrived five minutes after the postmortem operation had ended, having been given only 20 minutes notice, although United States authorities had pointedly asked, on the day after the body was found that they be notified, so they might attend.
After protests by the United States, Czechoslovakia agreed to a second autopsy. It is now being conducted by Prof.Bernard Hardmeyer, deputy director of the Legal Medical Institute of Zurich, Switzerland, who flew to Prague for the purpose. Dr. Hardmeyer was accompanied by Dr. Alexander Gonik, of the JDC staff in Geneva.
American medical authorities said in Washington today that it was extremely difficult to determine facts involving possible homicide after an autopsy is performed. The chances for gaining evidence in a second autopsy are lessened because of the obliteration of possible evidence inherent in any autopsy.
It was reported here that Mr. Jordan’s nephew viewed the body last night and identified it by rings and other indicators. It appeared that Mr. Jordan had not been the victim of robbery. Mr. Jordan disappeared Wednesday evening when he left his hotel room in Prague to buy an American newspaper.