The body of the West German Ambassador, Count Karl von Spreti, was found by villagers in an abandoned hut on a dusty mountain road near the small town of San Ralmundo, Guatemala on Sunday evening (5 April).
M.S. (3 shots) Scene of murder
M.S. German cultural attache
M.S. Newsmen & other persons
M.S. Papal Nuncio (in red cap)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The body of the West German Ambassador, Count Karl von Spreti, was found by villagers in an abandoned hut on a dusty mountain road near the small town of San Ralmundo, Guatemala on Sunday evening (5 April). Four bullets had been fired into his left temple.
The body of the diplomat, who was kidnapped by guerrillas last Tuesday, was identified by Gerhard Mikesch, West German charged affaires. Two hours before the body was found, the guerrillas telephoned the Papal Nuncio, Msgr. Girolamo Prigione, warning that the Count would be shot within an hour if their demands for 700,000 U.S. dollars and freedom for 22 political prisoners was not met.
On Monday (April 6), the West German Government, shocked and infuriated by the murder of its Ambassador in Guatemala, moved swiftly to reduce to a bare minimum its diplomatic relations with Guatemala. Foreign Minister Walter Scheel ordered the recall of the chief of the West German mission in Guatemala, Gerhard Mikesch, and most of his aides. The Guatemalan Ambassador in West Germany was told that it would be desirable for him to leave Bonn.
In Guatemala, army patrols began a house-to-house search throughout the capital for the killers and President Julio Ceasar Mendez Montanegro ordered that state honours be accorded the diplomat and that his coffin be put on view in the National Palace.