Today in Postal History

Switzerland to Ubangi-Shari-Chad
October 16, 1920

This registered official cover was sent from the Headquarters of the Universal Postal Union in Bern.
Bern, about halfway between Geneva and Zurich, has been the UPU headquarters since the beginning.
The Bern CDS, BRIEFAUFG[abe]., is a normal cancel indicating letter delivery or letter distribution.*

A treaty was drafted at the Postal Congress of 1874 in Bern to form the General Postal Union.
It became the Universal Postal Union at the Paris Congress in 1878.
The UPU is one of the oldest and most effective international bodies.

The first purpose of the UPU was to standardize and simplify international postal rates
and to establish methods for accounting for receipts for international mail.
It has evolved into an organization which keeps international mail handling working smoothly.

As an official cover of the UPU postage was not required.

Note the red UPU seal on the back flap and the preprinted address.

The cover was addressed to the Chief of Mail Service in
Bangui, Ubangi-Shari-Chad - a French colony in central Africa.

Bangui, the capital, is nearly 1,000 km inland from Atlantic Coast
at 4°22' N on the Ubangi river, a tributary of the Congo.
Bangui is now the capital of the Central African Republic.

The request for registration (Recommandé handstamp) was accomplished
by the addition of a preprinted Bern Registry label.

*Thanks to Roger Heath, Jim Griffith, and Jim Whitford-Stark to their discussion of the Bern CDS.


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