Dangerous diplomacy: A look at U.S. diplomats killed in the line of duty

Story highlights

  • Several U.S. diplomats have died after being attacked
  • They include then-Ambassadors Christopher Stevens, John Mein and Francis Meloy

(CNN)Diplomacy can be dangerous. U.S. diplomats have come under attack in various places in the last few decades.

Here's a look at U.S. diplomats who have been killed in the line of duty.

1968 in Guatemala

    The first U.S. ambassador assassinated while in office was John Gordon Mein, the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala.
    According to a telegram from the embassy in Guatemala City, a young man dressed in fatigues and carrying a sub-machine gun on August 28, 1968, ordered Mein's vehicle to stop and for the ambassador to get out. He did, then ran -- prompting a cry of "Shoot him, kill him."
    Mein was shot and fell to the ground about 12 yards behind his limousine.

    1973 in Sudan

    Cleo Noel Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Sudan, was nearing the end of a March 1973 reception in the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum when terrorists stormed in.
    The gunmen took Noel and another American, as well as diplomats from Saudi Arabia, Belgium and Jordan, according to a U.S. intelligence memo. The captors' demand: Free various people, mostly Palestinian guerillas, then imprisoned in Jordan, Israel and the United States.
    This spurred negotiations that didn't go anywhere, ending instead with the killing of Noel, fellow U.S. diplomat George Curtis Moore and Belgium's Charge d'Affaires. U.S. authorities say the assailants belonged to the Palestinian terrorist movement known as "Black September," claiming that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed off on the attack.

    1974 in Cyprus

    Ambassador Rodger Davies, who had been in Cyprus for less than months, hunkered down in a hallway on August 19, 1974, hoping he was safe from those involved in a nearby demonstration.
    Antoinette Varnava, a 31-year-old local who was part of the small embassy staff for about a decade, also died in the violence.

    1976 in Lebanon

    U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Francis Meloy, his economic counselor Robert O. Waring and their Lebanese driver disappeared in June 1976 as they crossed the Green Line, the division between Beirut's Christian and Muslim sectors.
    Their bullet-riddled bodies were found a short time later in mainly Muslim west Beirut, which was then controlled by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's guerrillas.
    Two former Muslim guerillas were convicted in the kidnap