4000bce - 399
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The undersigned Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of the countries enumerated above, having assembled in Congress in Paris, in virtue of Article 13 of the Universal Postal Convention concluded at Buenos Aires on May 23, 1939, have, by mutual agreement and subject to ratification, revised the said Convention in conformity with the following provisions:
1. The countries between which the present Convention is concluded form, under the name of Universal Postal Union, a single postal territory for the reciprocal exchange of correspondence.
2. The purpose of the Union is to assure the organization and perfection of the various postal services and to promote development and international collaboration this field.
The Union shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations in accordance with the terms of the Agreement the text of which is annexed to the present Convention.
1. Any sovereign country may at any time request adhesion to the Convention.
2. The request for adhesion shall be addressed thru diplomatic channels to the Government of the Swiss Confederation, and by the latter to the members of the Union.
3. The country concerned shall be considered as admitted to membership if its request is approved by at least two-thirds of the countries which compose the Union.
4. Any countries consulted which have not replied within a period of four months shall be considered to have abstained.
5. Notification of admission to membership shall be given by the Government of the Swiss Confederation to the Governments of all the countries of the Union.
1. The regular-mail service is governed by the provisions of the Convention.
2. Other services, such as those of insured letters and, boxes, parcel post, C. 0. D., money orders, postal checks, collection orders and subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals, form the subject of Agreements between countries of the Union. Such Agreements are binding only upon countries which have adhered to them.
3. Adhesion to one or more of those agreements is subject to the provisions of Article 3.
The Postal Administrations of the countries of the Union, draw up, by mutual agreement, in the form of Regulations of Execution, the measures of order and detail necessary for the execution of the Convention and the Agreements.
1. The countries of the Union and, insofar as their legislation is not opposed to it, the Administrations, may establish restricted Unions and make special agreements among themselves concerning the subjects dealt with in the Convention and its Regulations, on the condition, however, that they do not introduce therein any provisions less favorable, for the public, than those which are provided for by those Acts.
2. The same option is granted to the countries which participate in the Agreements and, as the case may be, to their Administrations, in regard to the subjects contemplated by those Acts and their Regulations.
The provisions of the Convention and the Agreements of the Union do not affect the legislation of any country concerning anything which is not expressly provided for by those Acts.
The following are considered as forming a single country or a single Administration of the Union, as the case may be, in the sense of the Convention and Agreements, particularly in regard to their right to vote in Congresses and Conferences and in the interval between meetings, as well as their contribution to the expenses of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union:
1. Any contracting party may declare, either at the time of its signature, ratification or adhesion, or subsequently, that its acceptance of the present Convention includes all its Colonies, oversea territories, protectorates and territories under suzerainty or mandate, or certain of them only. The said declaration, unless made at the time of signing the convention, shall be addressed to the Government of the. Swiss Confederation.
2. The Convention will apply only to the colonies, oversea territories, protectorates or territories under suzerainty or mandate in whose name declarations have been made by virtue of Section 1.
3. Any contracting party may at any time address to the Government of the Swiss Confederation a notification with a view to denouncing the application of the convention to any colony, oversea territory, protectorate or territory under suzerainty or mandate in the name Of which that party has made a declaration by virtue of Section 1. That notification will become effective one year after the date of its receipt by the Government of the Swiss Confederation.
4. The Government of the Swiss Confederation will transmit to all the contracting parties a copy of every declaration or notification received by virtue of Sections 1 to 3.
5. The provisions of the present Article do not apply to any colony, -oversea territory, protectorate or territory under suzerainty or mandate enumerated in the Preamble of the Convention.
The following are considered as belonging to the Universal Postal Union:
a) The post offices established by countries of the Union in territories not included in the Union;
b) Such other territories as, without being members of the Union, are included therein because they are, from the postal standpoint, within the jurisdiction of countries of the Union.
Administrations which serve territories not comprised in the Union are bound to act as intermediary for the other Administrations. The provisions of the Convention and its Regulations are applicable to Such exceptional relations.
1. In the case of disagreement between two or more members of the Union as to the interpretation of the Convention and Agreements, as well as their Regulations of Execution, or as to the responsibility imposed upon an Administration by the application of those Acts, the question in dispute is settled by arbitration. To that end, each of the Administrations concerned chooses another member of the Union which is not directly interested in the matter.
2. If one of the Administrations involved in the dispute does not take any action on a proposal for arbitration within a period of six months, or nine months in the case of distant countries, the International Bureau, if a request is made of it to that effect, calls upon the defaulting Administration to appoint an arbitrator, or appoints one itself officially.
3. The decision of the arbitrators is made on an absolute majority of votes.
4. In case of a tie vote, the arbitrators, for the purpose of settling the difference, choose another Administration which likewise has no interest in the dispute. In case of disagreement as to a choice, that Administration is designated by the International Bureau from among the members of the Union not proposed by the arbitrators.
5. If it is a question of a dispute concerning one of the Agreements, only such Administrations as execute that Agreement may be designated as arbitrators.
Any contracting party has the option of withdrawing from the Union of ceasing to participate in one or more of the Agreements by notice given one year in advance thru diplomatic channels to the Government of the Swiss Confederation and by the latter to the Governments of the contracting countries.
1. Delegates from the countries of the Union meet in Congress not later than five years after the effective date of the Acts of the preceding Congress, with a view to revising or completing those Acts, if necessary.
2. Each country is represented at the Congress by one or more plenipotentiary delegates, provided with the necessary credentials, by their Government. It may, if necessary, be represented by the delegation of another country. However, it is understood that delegation may represent only one country other than its own.
3. In the deliberations, each country has but one vote.
4. Each Congress fixes the meeting-place of the next Congress The latter is called together by the Government of the country in which it is to be held, in consultation with the International Bureau That Government is likewise charged with notifying all the Governments of the countries of the Union of the decisions made by the Congress.
1. The Acts of Congresses are ratified as soon as possible, and the ratifications are communicated to the Government of the country where the Congress was held, and by that Government to the Governments of the contracting countries.
2. In case that one or more of the contracting countries do not ratify one or another of the Acts signed by them, the latter will nevertheless be valid for the countries which have ratified them.
3. Those Acts are put into effect simultaneously and have the same duration.
4. From the date fixed for the entry into force of the Acts adopted by a Congress, all the Acts of the preceding Congress are abrogated.
1. An extraordinary Congress is called together by agreement with the International Bureau when a request to that effect is made or approved by at least two-thirds of the contracting countries.
2. The rules laid down by Articles 13 and 14 are applicable to the delegations, the deliberations, and the Acts of extraordinary Congresses.
Each Congress draws up the necessary regulations for its work and deliberations.
1. During the interval between Congresses an Executive and Liaison Commission shall ensure the continuity of the Work of the Universal Postal Union in conformity with the provisions of the Convention and the Agreements.
2. The seat of the Commission shall be at Bern; in general, the meetings shall be held at the seat of the Commission.
3. The Commission shall be composed of nineteen members who shall exercise their functions during the period separating two successive Congresses.
4. The countries members of the Commission shall be named by the Congress. At least half of the members must renew their membership on the occasion of each Congress; no country can be chosen successively by three Congresses. The Director of the International Bureau shall exercise the functions of Secretary General of the Commission.
5. The representative of each of the countries members of the Commission shall be designated by the Postal Administration of the country concerned. The representatives of the countries members of the Commission must be qualified officials of the Postal Administration.
6. At its first meeting, which shall be convoked by the President of the last Congress, the Commission shall elect from among its members a President and four Vice Presidents and shall draw up the Regulations required for its work and deliberations.
7. The functions of the members of the Commission shall be per formed without compensation. The operating costs of the Commission shall be borne by the Universal Postal Union. The representatives of the oversea countries may obtain reimbursement for a roundtrip ticket by sea or air.
8. The expenditures provided for in Section 7 shall not exceed 100,000 francs per year; they shall be added to those which the International Bureau is authorized to pledge by virtue of Article 27 of the Convention.
9. The Commission shall meet in regular session, in general once a year upon convocation by the President.
10. The Commission may invite to participate in its meetings, without the right to vote, any representative of an international organization or any other qualified person whom it desires to associate with its work. Consultative Sub-Commissions may be set up for the study of special questions.
11. The functions of the Commission shall be the following:
a) to maintain the closest relations with the countries members of the Union, with a view to improving the International Postal Service;
b) to study technical questions of every nature of interest to the International Postal Service and to communicate the results thereof to the countries members of the 'Union;
c) to establish the necessary relations with the United Nations, its Councils and its Commissions, as -vvell as with specialized institutions and other international organizations, for the study and preparation of reports to be submitted for approval to the members of the Union. If necessary, to send one of its members to represent the Union and to participate on behalf of the latter in the meetings of all such international organizations;
d) to formulate any proposals submitted for approval to the contracting countries in accordance with the provisions of Articles 22 and 23 of the Convention;
e) to control, within the framework of the Convention and its Regulations, the activities of the International Bureau, the Director and other excepted personnel of which it shall appoint, should. the occasion arise, upon the recommendation of the Government of the Swiss Confederation; to approve, upon the recommendation of the Director of the Bureau, the appointment of the other agents and to authorize the employment of the additional personnel considered necessary; to draw up, on the management of the Bureau, an annual report which it shall communicate to the members of the Union.
12. The Commission shall send, for information, to the Postal Administration of all the countries of the Union an analytical report at the close of each session of the Commission.
13. The Commission shall make a report to the Congress on the whole of its activities and transmit it to the contracting countries at least two months before the opening of the Congress.
1. Conferences charged with the examination of purely administrative questions may be called together at the request or with the consent of at least two-thirds of the Administrations of the Union. They are called together by agreement with the International Bureau.
2. Each Conference draws up its own regulations.
Committees charged by a Congress or a Conference with the study of one or more particular questions are called together by the International Bureau, in consultation, if necessary, with the Administration of the country where such Committees are to meet.
1. In the interval between meetings any Administration has the right to address to the other Administrations, thru the intermediary of the International Bureau, propositions concerning the Convention, its Final Protocol, and its Regulations.
2. The same right is accorded to the Administrations of the countries participating in the Agreements in regard to those Agreements, their Regulations, and their Final Protocols.
3. In order to be considered, all propositions introduced by an Administration in the interval between meetings must be supported by at least two other Administrations. Such propositions are ignored when the International Bureau does not receive, at the same time, the necessary numbers of declarations of support.
1. Every proposition is submitted to the following procedure: A period of two months is allowed for the Administrations to examine the propositions and send in their observations, if any to the International Bureau. Amendments are not admitted. The replies are assembled by the International Bureau and communicated to the Administrations, with an invitation to pronounce themselves for or against. Those which have not sent in their votes within a period of two months are considered as abstaining. The periods above mentioned are counted from the dates of the circulars of the International Bureau.
2. If the proposition concerns an Agreement, its Regulations, or their Final Protocols, only the Administrations which have adhered to that Agreement may take part in the procedure indicated in Section 1.
1. In order to become effective, the propositions must obtain:
a) Unanimity of votes, if it is a question of adding new provisions or modifying the provisions of Titles I and 11 or of Articles 35 to 39, 57 to 63, 65 to 74 of the Convention, of any of the Articles of its Final Protocol, or of Articles 101, 105, 117, 152, 163 and 184 of its Regulations;
b) Two-thirds of the votes, if it is a question of modifying provisions other than those mentioned under letter a);
c) A simple majority, if it is a question of interpreting the provisions of the Convention, its Final Protocol or its Regulations, except in the case of disagreement to be submitted to arbitration as provided for by Article 12.
2. The Agreements fix the conditions to which the approval of propositions concerning them is subject.
1. Additions to and modifications of the Convention, the Agreements and the Final Protocols of those Acts are sanctioned by a diplomatic declaration which the Government of the Swiss Confederation is charged with making up and transmitting, at the request of the International Bureau, to the Governments of the contracting countries.
2. Additions to and modifications of the Regulations and their Final Protocols are drawn up and communicated to the Administrations by the International Bureau. The same applies to the interpretations contemplated in Article 23, Section 1, letter c).
No addition or modification adopted is effective until at least three months after its notification.
1. A central Office, operating at Bern under the name of International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union, and placed under the supervision of the Swiss Postal Administration, serves as an organ of liaison, information and consultation for the countries of the Union.
2. That Bureau is charged, in particular, with assembling, coordinating, publishing and distributing information of all kinds concerning the international postal service; with giving, at the request of the interested parties, an opinion on questions in dispute; with making known requests for modification of the Acts of the Congress; with giving notice of the changes adopted; and, in general, with undertaking such studies and work in connection with editing and arranging material as the Convention, the Agreements and their Regulations may assign to it, or which may be entrusted to it in the interests of the Union.
3. It acts as a clearing-house for the settlement of accounts of all kinds relative to the international postal service, between Administrations requesting such intervention.
1. Each Congress fixes the maximum figure for the ordinary annual expenses of the International Bureau. Those expenses, as well as the extraordinary expenses arising from the meeting of a Congress, a Conference or a Committee, and the expenses incurred in connection with special work entrusted to that Bureau, are shared by all the countries of the Union.
2. The latter are divided, for that purpose, into 7 classes, each of which contributes to the payment of the expenses in the following proportion:
1st Class, 25 units 5th Class, 5 units 2d Class, 20 units 6th Class, 3 units 3d Class, 15 units 7th Class, 1 unit 4th Class, 10 units
3. In case of a new adhesion, the Government of the Swiss Confederation determines, by mutual agreement with the Government of the country concerned, the class in which the latter is to be placed for the apportionment of the expenses of the International Bureau.
The present Convention will become effective on July 1, 1948, and will remain in force for an indefinite period.
In faith of which, the plenipotentiaries of the Governments of the countries above enumerated have signed the present Convention in one copy, which will be filed in the Archives of the Government of the French Republic and a copy of which will be delivered to each party.
Done at Paris, July 5, 1947.
1. Spain, Morocco (Spanish Zone) and the whole of the Spanish Colonies, temporarily prevented from adhering to the Convention and the Agreements, as the result of a decision of the XII Universal Postal Congress adopted in conformity with the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of December 12, 1946, may, without submitting to the formalities provided for in Article 3, adhere to these Acts as soon as this resolution is reported or has become purposeless.
2. Germany, Japan, and Korea, temporarily prevented from adhering to the Convention and the Agreements, may, without submitting to the formalities provided for in Article 3, adhere to these Acts whenever it is deemed advisable by the responsible authority.
3. Notification of the adherences provided for in Sections 1 and 2 must be sent, in diplomatic form, by the Governments concerned to the Government of the French Republic and by the latter to the other States of the Union.
In faith of which. the undersigned plenipotentiaries have drawn up the present Protocol, which will have the same force and validity as if its provisions were included in the text of the Convention itself, and they have signed it in one copy, which will be filed in the Archives of the Government of the French Republic, and a copy of which will be delivered to each party.
Done at Paris, July 5, 1947.
(1) Convention Postale Universelle, Revision de Paris 1947, pp. 6-15, 32, 49, 51-54. Ratified and approved by the Postmaster General of the United States of America, June 1, 1949; approved by the President of the United States, June 9, 1948; entered into force July 1, 1948. For document on United States acceptance of membership in the Union, see 5 U. S. 0. 372. An agreement establishing formal relationship between the Union and the United Nations was approved by the General Assembly, November 15, 1947.
This is an unofficial translation from the French. The official United States text may be found in the Department of State Publication, Treaties and Other International Acts, Series 1850. Back