25 JUNE 1948, Page 2

The Agreement With Eire

The fact of the conclusion of the new trade agreement with Eire, and the manifestly cordial spirit in which the negotiations were conducted by both sides, is at least as valuable as the contents of the agreement itself. Any suggestion that Mr. Costello's Government would be less easy in its relations with Whitehall than its predecessor are decisively dispelled. There may be difficult questions to settle between the two countries yet, but they will be much more tractable in the atmosphere of • good will which this week's friendly contacts have created. The agreement concluded is clearly beneficial to both countries. Neither was seeking favours and both have gained sub- stantial advantages. Eire finds in it a means of reducing her formid- able adverse balance, Great Britain gets more beef, for which Eire on her side gets a better price than before. We also get more eggs and poultry, bacon and butter, all of which will be welcome, and we agree to admit various Eire goods, not at present considerable in volume, for which the Eire Government desires to develop a market, notably tweeds and homespuns. This is a good beginning, and further arrangements of mutual benefit are likely to flow from it. Relations between Great Britain and Eire are in good hands— Mr. Philip Noel-Baker's on this side and Mr. Sean MacBride's on that. Some contribution, too, can and should be made to the development of a friendly understanding by the increasing number of English, who, like the Prime Minister, are taking advantage of the varied holiday attractions which Eire can offer.