ON A BASQUE AREA
State of Emergency Invoked in Province That Is Center of Agítation Over Trial.
By RICHARD EDER
Special lo The New York Times
MADRID, Dec. 4—The Government decreed a three-month state of emergency tonight in the Basque province of Guipúzcoa, where a West Germán cónsul was abducted Tuesday.
For two days the province has been paralyzed by strikes and demonstrations against the court-martial of 15 Basques in connection with the killing of a pólice official in 1968.
The decree gíves the pólice special powers to search without warrant and to hold suspects indefinitely without recourse to the courts. Anyone considered dangerous can be sent to forced residence in any part of Spain.
The decree, effective only in Guipúzcoa, was the first major response by the Government of Generalissimo Francisco Franco to the unexpectedly widespread resistance to the courtmartial, which began yesterday in Burgos. Death sentcnces have been sought for six of the 15 Basques, who are accused of participating in a separatist guerrilla movement.
The harshness of the sentences asked and the use of a military court to judge political crimes have aroused protests, demonstrations and strikes Spain Invokes State of Emergency in Basque Province
tbroughout the country. The Government is confronted not only with tne tradicional opposition of intellectuals, professionals and students but also with the open criticism of the cotintry´s bishops and with a subdued but worrying state of unhappiness in the army.
The decree, taken. after a long Cabinet sessíon presided over by General Franco—who celebrated his 78th birthday todav, during the severcst test of his regimé since the civil war —seems to nave been something of a compromiso. Some ministers reportedly favored sweeping mcasures to dcal with unrest through the country.
Guipúzcoa is the most Basque of the four Spanish Basque provinces and it is where the demand for cultural, economic and, in same quarters, political autonomy has been strongest, at least in recent years.
It is there as well as ín neighboring Vizcaya that the guerrilla organization known as E.T.A. has operated. with a program combining nationalism and a form of Marxism. E.T.A. —the initials are for the Basque words for "Basque nation and freedom"—had only limited support but -considerably wider svmpathy. The court-martial of its members and adherents has turned that sympathy into action.
Main Highway Blocked
Last night there were demonstrations in all the main towns of the province. A demonstrator and a policeman were injured, the national highway was tempprarily blocked by barricades in Tolosa, and the factories and ports around San Sebastián were closed by strikes.
A number of villages and towns were shut down and there are reports that members of E.T.A. wearing brassards ind carrying guns were openly patrolling in some, in effect actíng briefly as policemen.
The Govermnent, which had already concentrated large pólice torces in the north. is also trying to find the honorary West Germán cónsul in San Sebastián, Eugen Beihl, and his kidnappers. A house-to-house search of certain, districts in San Sebastián is reported to be under way.
The kidnapping has drasticallyincreasea the Government´s difficulties with the court-martial and its repercussions. Mr. Beihl´s captors, apparently a splinter group of E.T.A., seem to have threatened to take his life if any of those on trial in Burgos are executed. Their precise demands llave not been stated.
Previously the Vatican, the Spanish bishops and rnany supporters of the Government had asked for clemency. Furthermore, two of the most important army officers. Gen. Manuel Diez Alegría, head of the Joint General Staff, and Gen. Tomás García Rebull, commander of the Burgos military district, let it be known that they opposed the use of the army to try political crimes.
There would have been every reason for giving way to those voices and either transferring the case to the ordinary courts or letting it be known that there would be no executions,, except for one thing: The opposition had begun a major protest and the Franco regime does not líke to give way under pressure, or at least to be seen to do so.
A commutation of death sentences now, if the court-martial imposes thetn, would seem to the most orthodox officials to be an abdication of authority. The execution of any of the accused would inflame a protest movement whose extent and influence have only become evident in recent days.
Finally, it is believes that if a tough line by the Government on behalf of a trial that is so disliked inside and outside the country should cause the death of Mr. Beihl, it would half the efforts, in wich the West Germans have an important part, to bring Spain into a closer relatiionship with the rest o Europe.