In the morning twilight of Wednesday, March 10th, 1948, the limp body of Jan Garrigue Masaryk, Czechoslovakia's popular and charismatic foreign minister, was discovered in the courtyard of the seventeenth-century Czernin Palace. The body lay on the stone pavement some 50 feet below the bathroom window of his official apartment in the Foreign Office Building.
Six hours later, the Communist-dominated government of Klement Gottwald broadcast to the world that Masaryk's death had been an act of suicide. The tragic news was transmitted on New York's 7 A.M. news. After allowing Prague-based correspondents to file their dispatches, the Czechoslovak government severed all communications with the outside world.
Shortly thereafter, Jan Papánek, the Czechoslovak ambassador to the United Nations, leaked to some correspondents in his office his view that Masaryk had been murdered. Papánek later officially requested UN secretary-general Trygve Lie to call an emergency meeting of the Security Council. His note demanded a debate on his charges of a foreign-directed seizure of power in Prague, resulting in the destruction of Czechoslovakia's national independence and thereby creating a threat to world peace. At the accompanying press conference, he rehearsed his reading of the Czechoslovak crisis and, at the end, voiced disbelief of the suicide story.
Whatever the accuracy may be of the conflicting versions of his death, Masaryk must be perceived as a victim of the Cold War. His premature demise inflamed the intensity of the rival power polemics,