WASHINGTON (Sep. 5)
In identical letters to two members of Congress, the State Department made excuses today for the failure of the Czechoslovakian authorities to delay the initial autopsy on Charles H. Jordan, executive vice-president of the Joint Distribution Committee, who met his death in Prague last month under mysterious circumstances. The delay had been asked to permit the presence of a Swiss pathologist.
Assistant Secretary of State William B. Macomber, Jr., told Reps. Broomfield of Michigan and Taft of Ohio that “the late permission to attend the autopsy could have been the result of difficulties in coordination between the various ministries involved because these offices are closed on Sunday. Routinely, doctors at this institute (Institute of Forensic Medicine) begin autopsies at 7:00 A.M.”
The official added that “nevertheless, the Department and the American Embassy in Prague are pressing the Czechoslovak Government for a complete investigation and full explanation of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and death of Mr. Jordan. We are giving this case the greatest attention and are carefully examining its every aspect. However, we believe that we must await the Czechoslovak official report of the investigation and the separate reports of the Czechoslovak pathologists and of the Swiss pathologists before drawing any firm conclusions and determining what further action may be appropriate.”
Mr. Macomber said that Secretary of State Dean Rusk had asked to be informed of all developments in the case and had “followed the case closely from the outset and will continue to do so.”