THE POSTAL HISTORY OF ICAO

 

The 10th anniversary commemorated by Canada

 

The Canadian stamp issue commemorating the 10th anniversary of ICAO takes its roots back in the discussions and negotiations related to ICAO’s franking and postal privileges.

 

At its 5th Session of the Assembly, held in Montreal from 5 to 18 June 1951, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted resolution A5-13 by which the Council, the governing body of ICAO composed of 21 Member States at that time, was invited to try to reach an agreement with the Government of Canada for the granting of franking or other postal privileges, expecting some economy in the cost of mailing official correspondence.

 

Compli­mentary folder presenting Canada Scott #354 des­igned by Walter Lohse.

 

Prior to that, a suggestion for a similar arrangement had been made in the first draft of the Headquarters agree­ment presented on 24 March 1948 by ICAO to the Canadian Government.  Section 13 of that draft reads as follows: "Pending any general arrangement concerning the establish­ment of a postal service of the United Nations and Specialized Agencies, the appropriate Canadian Authorities shall issue special stamps for the use of the Organization."

 

The above suggestion was based on the experience gained prior to the Second World War by the League of Nations and the International Labour Office (ILO) in Switzerland. Arran­gements had also been concluded between the Govern­ment of Switzerland and a few Agencies concerning the use of stamps with an overprint corresponding to the Organization concerned.

 

After the adoption of Resolution 454(V) by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on 16 November 1950, the signing of an agreement between the USA and the UN on 28 March 1951 permitted the United Nations Postal Administration to go into operation; the first stamp was released on United Nations Day, i.e. 24 October 1951.

 

On 7 August 1951, ICAO's Assembly resolution was sub­mitted to the Canadian Post Office Department, which felt that it could not undertake to extend franking privileges to ICAO, as the postal law and regulations restricted such privileges to senators, members of parliament and to federal government departments.

 

Canada – 1 June 1955

10th Anniversary of ICAO

Lower-left block of 4 stamps

with marginal inscriptions

On 12 December 1951, as it was felt that the original submission had not been clearly stipulated, ICAO requested that the question be reconsidered by the Post Office Department, along the lines of arrangements between the Swiss Government and various international or­ganizations, i.e. the use of national stamps with an overprin­t, stamps to be sold, used or unused, to philatelists for their collec­tions exclusively. Again, the Post Office ex­pressed serious objections to the proposed arran­gements and recalled that the primary object of producing postage stamps was to prepay postage and that philatelic use should be merely incidental.

 

In the meantime, a resolution was adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) requesting the Specialized Agencies to submit any proposal which may be made by them concerning postal activities to the Secretary General of the UN for consultation with the Universal Postal Union (UPU). As this resolution did not prohibit ICAO from concluding an agreement with the Canadian Authorities, discussions were taken up in 1953 with them on re-examining the question of issuing stamps with an ICAO overprint or special stamps.  In November 1953, the Canadian Post Office indicated that it could not turn over any portion of the proceeds resulting from the sale of ICAO stamps issued for purely philatelic purposes; it was nevertheless prepared to overprint stamps of its normal issues for ICAO pre-payment of postage and was also ready to mark special dates such as the tenth anniversary of the Organization's existence in Canada by the issue of a special stamp for general use which could be overprinted for use by ICAO or philatelic interests.

 

On 12 January 1954, a specific committee on postal matters was created at ICAO to make recommendations on the above issues.  This committee felt that the estimate of the revenue that might be expected by ICAO from philatelic sales might not be sufficient to make the project worthwhile. The committee assessed the probable philatelic demand for ICAO service stamps taking into consideration the main factors affecting this demand, i.e. the selling price, the number of different denominations, the introduction of new issues, the philatelic interest and the marketing channels. Moreover, it was felt that the issue of an ICAO com­memorative stamp might provide a suitable opportunity for stimulating philatelic interest, as well as appraising the results of philatelic sales for an overprinted commemorative stamp (trial scheme); ICAO would act as a stamp dealer to sell the overprinted stamps at prices it considered suitable. In considering this matter, the ICAO Council did not accept the offer of the Postmaster General to arrange for overprin­ting of regular issues of Canadian postage stamps, as it should not engage in philatelic sales as an accessory means of financing; this recommendation brought an end to the discussions related to stamp overprinting and franking privileges for ICAO.

 

First draft submitted

by Maurice St.Onge

However, as compensation, the suggestion made by the Post Office to issue a commemorative stamp was positively received at ICAO; a stamp could be considered for the 10th anniversary of the inception of the Organization in August 1955, rather than the tenth anniversary of the Provisional Organization's installation in Canada (June 1945). It was later suggested that the first day of issue coincide with the second day of ICAO's 9th Session of the Assembly, i.e. 1 June 1955.

 

In April 1954, the ICAO Secretary General invited staff members to submit suitable suggestions and designs (for the United Nations Postal Administration and the Canadian Post Office). 

 

Second draft submitted

by Maurice St.Onge

The ICAO special committee on postal matters evaluated twelve designs submitted by five competitors; Mr. Maurice St.Onge, a Cartographic Draftsman in the Aeronautical Charts Section of ICAO, was granted the first prize of $50 for the design (see first draft). On the basis on the three best designs submitted by ICAO, the Post Office commissioned an artist to submit his ideas on how the subject should be handled.

 

The resulting design was re-drafted by Mr. St.Onge (see second draft), to avoid presenting too many similarities with the Canadian stamp Scott #343 (Northern Gannet in flight); it is to be noted that the word organisation was spelled in English with the letter S (American spelling), which was an error as ICAO's official name had always been spelled with the letter Z.

Canada – 1 April 1954

Scott #343

 

 

On the initiative of Mr. Karl Lohse, the Chief of ICAO's Aeronautical Charts Section, his brother Walter Lohse, Assistant Art Director of the Gazette Printing Company, reworked the draft and completed the design for the final issue.  Born in Bel­gium in Janu­ary 1897, Walter Lohse began his career as a tech­nical en­gineer, but discovered later that he was a better artist than an engineer.  He came to Canada in 1930 and joined The Gazette in 1942. 

 

Draft submitted

by Walter Lohse

30 December 1954

It is to be noted that, in the draft designs, the dove carries a branch of olive tree (not retained in the final design). The symbol of peace carried by the olive tree goes back to the Greek mythology. Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, created the olive tree that remained sacred to her. In a contest for patron ship of Athens with Poseidon, the god of sea, she gave the olive as the most profitable gift to the inhabitants of the city, while Poseidon gave the horse. The gods decreed unanimously that peace was more profitable than war, and awarded Athena the prize; hence, the olive tree became Athena’s tree for the Greeks. As a symbol of peace, a wreath of crossed olive branches is part of the UN and ICAO emblems. Moreover, oil extracted from the olive is well known for its smoothing properties.

 

The message conveyed by the Canadian stamp Scott #354 is in perfect har­mony with the aims and objectives outlined in the Chicago Convention (i.e. ICAO's Charter), stating that ICAO would be the world's aviation regulatory authority creating and pres­erving friendship and understan­ding among nations and peoples.  Finally, this Canadian stamp paid tribute to ICAO's work towards improvement of safety and regula­rity in inter­national air trans­port during the first ten years of its existence.

 

The designers of the Canadian stamp most likely found also their inspiration from the maximum card and the stamp issued for the Peace Conference held in Paris, France, from 29 July to 15 October 1946. The stamp (Scott #566, Prussian green, issued on 29 July 1946) shows woman’s hands releasing a dove that holds an olive branch in its beak. The symbolism of the dove with the olive branch was reproduced on the preliminary designs of the Canadian stamp. It is to be noted that the olive branch was not retained in the final draw of the stamp.

 

Maximum card and stamp issued for the Peace Conference

held in Paris, France, from 29 July to 15 October 1946

 

Private designers issued over forty-five different first day covers with the Canadian stamp. Several of those covers are shown hereafter; the cachet makers are provided whenever identified.

 

Caneco Envelopes cachet

 

Joseph C. Rosenbaum (JCR) cachet

Grover cachet

CachetCraft cachet

 

Sanders cachet

Fluck cachet

Philatelic Supply cachet

 

Overseas Mailers cachet

C.W. George cachet

Maple Leaf cachet

 

Middlesex Stamp Circle cachet

C. George Junior III cachet

Replacement cover used by the Canadian Post Office, in case of damaged cover during service

 

Ken Boll design/CachetCraft cachet

Velvatone flocked cachet

H. & E. raised cachet

 

Jacobi cachet

UEL (Universal Engravers Limited) Calgary cachet

 

ArtCraft cachet

ArtCraft cachet

ArtCraft cachet

 

ArtCraft cachet

Chateau Laurier cachet

Roessler Coat of Arms Cachet

 

Stanley Stamp Co. cachet

Ottawa Philatelic Society cachet

ArtCraft cachet

 

Personal cachet

House of Commons green stamp

Colorart Maxi-Card cachet

 

Unknown cachet

Unknown cachet

Unknown cachet

 

In additional to the above covers with cachets printed in large runs, some designers made their own hand-drawn and painted covers, which are scarce pieces:

 

Ralph Dyer cachet

 

Unknown cachet

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