International Organizations in Which the United States Participates

By Laurence F. Schmeckebier | Go to book overview

INTERNATIONAL BUREAU OF THE UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION

In 1864 the Postmaster General of the United States complained that the system of rates established for foreign mails was "too complex to be readily understood by postmasters, and many mistakes and unfortunate delays arise from its complexity."1 At that time there was neither a uniform minimum weight nor a standard rate for the same weight between two countries. Letters of the same weight moving between two countries by different routes would require varying rates of postage. In order to remedy conditions he had in 1863 suggested a conference of postal officials of leading countries. This conference met in Paris in May 1863, and agreed upon certain rules.2 This agreement was a more or less informal one between the representatives of the several postal administrations, and did not partake of the character of an international treaty or convention.

Five years later, in 1868, Stephan, the director of the postal administration of the North German Confederation, unified the postal administration of the German States, and proposed a plan for international unification.3 In 1874 at the suggestion of the German government and on the invitation of the Swiss Federal Council a postal congress met at Berne. This congress resulted in the formation of the General Postal Union by a treaty signed at Berne on October 9, 1874, and approved by the President of the United States on March 8, 1875.4

____________________
1
Annual Report of the Postmaster General, 1863, p. 6.
2
The same, pp. 11-13.
3
L. S. Woolf, International Government, p. 119.
4
19 Stat. L.577. It should be noted that postal treaties and conventions

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