Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
"One thing," President Carter said in his toast Tuesday night at the White House, "that I can say about the shah, he certainly knows how to draw a crowd."
And, at the blacktie state dinner for the visiting Iranian leader and the shahbanou, that was virtually the only official reference to the day's sometimes violent demonstrations.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his Empress lent them tacit notice by showing up for dinner at the back door of the White House, giving the slip to a few hundred demonstrators who had been waiting at the more traditional front door entrance.
The shah's limousine was distinguished by Iranian flags and once it had disappeared into West Executive Avenue, demonstrators in the park began to yell and an egg was lobbed into the street. It was mild compared to earlier protests.
At the diplomatic entrance President and Mrs. Carter were waiting for their guests When someone asked if the morning's tear gas had been the President's first experience with it, he said it was "and I hope it's the last."
To another question about whether the demonstrators had upset the shah, Carter replied, "No, I don't think so, I think he handled it very well."
Of the tear gas, Carter said he had cried "a little bit" and Rosalynn Carter told reporters, "and you (reporters) cried, too. I was watching the press."
The shah and shahbanou were smiling but subdued when they stepped onto the now-familiar red carpet that White House aides had unrolled only minutes earlier. She wore a blue and gold brocade gown and diamond and sapphire drop earrings. The shah's eyes were red, perhaps a result of the tear gas that floated over the South Lawn during his arrival ceremony in the morning.
Neither gave any indication in their demeanor that their arrival had been out of the ordinary. But demonstrators had been kept at bay along Pennsylvania Avenue by almost a city block.
Another guest who didn't feel the demonstrations had marred the day was Zbigniew Brzezinski, the President's national security adviser, who said, "It's part of our life, day and age."
Rep. Helen S. Meyner (D-N.J.) with her husband, Robert, the former governor said, "I think it's democracy at work. That doesn't make it pleasant but maybe the shah will perk up and listen to some of the dissent."
Pop artist Andy Warhol, who visited Iran last winter to do a commissioned portrait of the queen, called yesterday's demonstration "scary, but we are used to them in New York."
In their toasts to one another following a dinner of sole mousse, roast pheasant with wild rice, salad and frozen praline crown, no mention was made of either the day's disorders or the issues that precipitated them, including human rights. Carter hailed the shah for his "enlightened leadership," congratulated him for his efforts in raising Iran's standard of living and called Iran a "stabilizing influence in that part of the world."
During the evening most of the guests described the conversations as "gay and joyful" and the entertainment, at least, substantiated this feeling. Introducing Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie, two preeminent names of jazz, Carter said, "This is an evening I have been anticipating with a great deal of relish. In the early 1950s we went on a vacation to Baltimore and went to a club that had a Chinese sounding name and Sarah Vaughan on the marquee. The sound system was out but Miss Vaughan sang, she uses her voice like an instrument."
The Carters and the Iranian visitors seemed to enjoy the concert but Rosalynn Carter was visibly excited. She jumped to her feet, leading the applause twice.
The shah and his wife left the White House around 11:10 p.m., going home the same way they arrived - well, it must have seemed like home - after all these visits to Blair House plause twice.