Notes from the Past

Montgomery Blair - Part II

In a letter dated August, 4, 1862, to the US Secretary of State, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair suggested that the US Government set the wheels in motion for an international conference to discuss international mail handling and recommend way of streamlining the system.

A portion of Blair's letter outlined the problems that would have to be solved if the international mails were to be placed on a properly organized basis that was fair to all countries.

Blair told the Secretary of State:

"There exist many obstacles to foreign correspondence which cannot be resolved except by concerted international action.  These obstacles arise from differences in principles as well as in details of postal arrangements reached by the various nations of the two continents.  There is a great diversity of rates between the same places, up to six different rates depending on the means of transportation.

"It is apparent that an international postal system established on a common base is of primary importance, not only from the viewpoint of commercial relations, but also social relations.  The ramifications of the post system, involving so many countries seem to require a general cooperative action."

On May 11, 1863, delegates from Austria, Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Great Britain, the Hanseatic Cities, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, the Sandwich Islands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States met to set in motion the discussions that were to result in the formation of the Universal Postal Union.

That first conference diagnosed the problems and established the obvious need to solve them.

Thus the formation of the UPU was a virtually automatic result of that beginning. 

- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume One A-F
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted November 10, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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