THE NEW YORK TIMES, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12. 1970
SPANISH GENERAL DEPLORES ARMY ROLE IN BASQUE´S TRIAL
By RICHARD EDER
especial to the New York Times MADRID-- One of the few surviving generals on the Franco sido in the Civil War has written a letter to the rnilitary governor of Burgos deploring the armys involvrment in the court-martial of 15 Basque activists.
The author of the letter, written. Dec. 1, is Lieut, Gen. Rafael Garcia Valino, who was a commander of thr battle of the Ebro and who, despite his retirement, retains considerable prestige ameng older army officer.
His letter was directed to Lieut. Gen, Tomas García Rebull, whose command includes the Basque provinces and who has jurisdictión, over the court-martíal. The defense ended in an uproar Wednesday and thc five military judges are expected to reach a verdict at the beginning ofnext week. Rumors about the letter, and then copies, have begun to find ther way about Madrid in the last few day. Because of General Garcia Valino´s prrstige, and because General García Rebull, who is one of the most important figures in the army, has already made it known that he is unhappy about the courtmartial, the letter has added to rumors about splits between the rnilitary and the Government.
Wider Audience Sought The indications are, furthermore, that the letter was leaked by General García Rebull rather than its writer, and this would be significan. At the least, it would mean that General García Rebull was making an effort to win a wider audience for his expressed views that the army should have had no part of a courtmartial thrat could only win it.
The letter wich begins "Dear friend and comrade" says in part " It is not prudent to use the army to clarify and judge events sinco any goverment of laws already has organs for such a purpose Fur thermore, the army wich comes from the people to serve it and to be the support of the nation it and to be the support of the naition, sholud not intervene in soiving; disputes that could cut it off from that a.ffection — or chill — that is necessary between its honorable mission an those it represents."
The general went on to recail that he had been military governor of Madrid in 1963 and, as such, bad comfirmed the death centences after the court-martial of Julian Grimau, a Communist leader who was eventtually shot despitc worldwide protests.
General Garci Valino, who is 72 years old, told his younger colleague that he saw at first hand that the execution had stirred up the country and created antiarmy sentiment, and that this restiveness had been felt in the army itself, where it had caused dissension.
Thw general went on to urge that if it was not possible to give up the military trial, the trial should at least be postponed unti the Supremo Court ruled on a motion to transfer it, back to the regular courts. Tais was not done and it was only yesterday, efter the courtmartial had ended, that the Supreme Court ruled, deaying the motion.
Visited -at his apartraent, a chilly, cavernous place in downtown Madrid, General García Valino seemed shocked that the letter had leaked out. "It was a prívate letter," ha kept repeating.
The general, a short, mustacned man who begins to show signs of feebleness, read the copy carefully and confirmed that it was authentic. He asked only that some details of the intra-army disputes concerning the death sentence not be publiblished.
Tensión continued through-out the country, which was waiting for news about the court-martial sentences and also for word about the kidnaped honorary West Germán Consul, Eugen Beihl. What happens in both instances is likely to have important repercussions, both in the Government and on the god.