Timing a Factor in Spain
By RICHARD EDER
Speclal to The New York Times
MADRID, Dec. 25—The reléase of Mr. Beihl on Christmas Day is viewed here as a welltimed tactical move by his cap-tors.
They have been able to make humanitarian gesture on a date that has strong emotional and religious significance in Spain. If it turns out, as expected, that there are no death sentences in the Burgos trial, many Spaniards are likely to wonder why it was necessary to keep the prisoners and their families in agonizing suspense over the holiday.
If death sentences should be imposed, it would be hard, after Mr. Beihl´s reléase, for the Spanish Government not to exercise clemency That is not the main point, however.
If, as is presumed, the Government has already decided that none of the 15 defendants in Burgos will die, the credit it could expect from international opinión will inevitably be overshadowed by the fact that the Basque underground — ETA —made its gesture first.
Explanation of Reléase
In a statement issued in France today, ETA said the reléase had been designed "to show first our people, then the world, that ETA is not an irresponsible, fanátical and bloodthirsty band." It warned, however, that if there were any executions at Burgos, it would take immediate reprisals.
ETA—the initials stand in the difficult Basque tongue for the words "Basque Nation and Liberty"— has operated for the last five or six years, and is believed to be 200 or 300 strong. Its proelaimed objectives are an independent Basque nation under a revolutionary socialist form of government.
ANNOUNCES RELÉASE: Telesforo Monzón, inter-mediary in negotiations for Eugen Beihl´s reléase, at news conference In St.-Jean-de-Luz, France.
Soviet-Thai Trade Pact
BANGKOK, Thailand, Dec. 25 (AP) — The Soviet Union and Thailand signed an agresment today to expand trade and commercial relations "on an equal basis." Trade betweeo the two countries has been negligible.