THE NEW YORK TIMES, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1981
Juan Carlos Undaunted
By JAMES M. MARKHAM
Specialto The NeW York Times
GUERNICA, Spain, Feb. 4 — King Juan Carlos emerged successful today from a confrontation with Basque legislators close to the terrorist organization E.T.A.
As the 43-year-old King rose to speak to members of the regional parliament in Guernica, a town sacred to many Basques, a score of representatives of the radical coalition Herri Batasuna, who had boycotted the legislature until today, began singing a Basque nationlist song made popular during the Spanish Civil War.
The King smiled at the demonstrators, who stood only a f ew feet from him in the tiny Casa de Juntas, the historie repository of ancient Basque home-rule traditions. At one point, he made a friendly gesture, urging the radicáis to sing louder. Queen Sofía sat smiling by his side.
Demonstrators Aré Ejected
At a signal from Carlos Garaicoetxea, president of the infant Basque government, about 40 security guards forcibly ejected the militants amid shouts of "lOut! Out! Outt" from the other legislators.
"I am sorry for this little incident, señor," said Juan José Pujana, the president of the Basque legislature." You have theword."
The King, who had expected some gesture by the radicáis, said to thunderous applause, ´´Before those who practice intolerance, who disdain coexistence, institutions and the most elementary norms of freedom of expression, I want to proclaim once more my confidence in democracy and in the Basque people."
The incident overshadowed the rest of the King´s three-day visit to the three Basque provinces, which ends tomorrow. Spanish journalists and politícians at the Casa de Juntas immediately expressed the fear that the insult to the King would arouse right-wingers in the military. Fearing for both his safety and his honor, some top officers are known to have opposed the King´s trip here.
Support for Protests Ebbs
But by holding his ground and later firmly endorsing self-government for the Basque región, Juan Carlos appeared today to have made an important contribution to turning Basque opinión away from E.T.A´s dreams of an independent Basque nation.
Lately, Herri Batasuna, the política arm of E.T.A, has been unable to muster large number of demonstators whereas several years ago it was able to immobilize the center of major cities.
The King´s pilgrimage today to Guernica was a conscious echo of trios here by the kings of Castile who, beginning in the 14th century, swore allegience to the Basques´ home-rule privileges under the oak at the site of the Casa de Juntas. The fueros, as the ancient privileges an known, were extinguished in 1876 at thí end of a savage civil war.
Though Juan Carlos did not formally give his allegiance to the fueros, the thrust of his speech to the Basque legislators was to link the monarchy firmly to a full development of Basque autonomy Two months ago, the Government ol Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez trans ferred important economíc decisión making powers to Mr. Garaicoetxea´s government.
Región Is Transformed
"The Crown," said the King, "in keep ing with the central role that historically has belonged to it, has assumed from the first moment as a cornerstone of the new conception of the Spanish state the establishment of a way of coexistence that linked to the tradition of the fueros, re stores to the Basque country the exercise of its historic liberties amplified in a sys tem of modern democratic institutions."
Since he became head of state after Franco´s death in 1975, Juan Carlos has urged a loosening of the centralism thas by Basque Protest the late dictator had imposed on the Basque región. Though marred by violence, the northem zone has been politically transformed.
Juan Carlos expressed his sympathy and that of the Queen for the victims of political violence here — last yéar 110 people were killed in the región — and won a standing ovation by reciting a verse of poetry in the arcane Basque language in which it was written: "That the future may exclaim: here was a people. Or better yet: Let us give it the impulse that it may last forever."