STAMP ISSUES RELATED TO ICAO (1945-1977)

 

Comoros : 25th Anniversary of United Nations Postal Administration

 

Issue date: 23/11/1976

 

 

Concorde, Graf Zeppelin LZ‑127 airship over one of the islands in the Comoros archipelago,  clouds and UN carmine stamp of 1955 (10th anniversary of ICAO; stamp-on-stamp). Text on three lines: SERVICE POSTAL / ONU / 1951-1976.

                             

 

Souvenir sheet with stamp as described here above. Text on three lines: SERVICE POSTAL / ONU / 1951-1976. UN building and emblem; Universal Postal Union (UPU) emblem for its 100th anniversary celebrated in 1974.

Background: The stamp is part of an issue of six stamps with the same basic design, but with commemorative stamps (stamp-on-stamp) issued by the UN in the 1950s and related to FAO, WHO, UNICEF, ITU, ICAO and UPU. Thus, six souvenir sheets reproducing each of the stamps are part of this issue.

The idea of the United Nations (UN) for issuing its own stamps was first proposed in 1947 by the Delegation of Argentina to the UN. Further to that, Resolution 454(V) was adopted unanimously on 16 November 1950 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which requested the Secretary General to proceed with the necessary arrangements for the establishment of the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) as at 1 January 1951.

The postal agreement between the UN and the Post Office Department of the United States, where the UN Headquarters were located, was signed on 28 March 1951, so that the UN could start issuing postage stamps for its own use; it stipulated that the stamps be denominated in United States currency and used only at UN Headquarters. The UN postal service was inaugurated on 24 October 1951, i.e. on United Nations Day; the first UN stamps went on sale on that day. It is recalled that the UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, upon ratification of the Charter by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, and by a majority of signatories.

Similar postal agreements were reached with the Swiss and Austrian postal authorities. On 11 December 1968, an agreement between the United Nations and the Swiss Postal Telephone and Telegraph Enterprise enabled the Geneva office of the UNPA to issue the first UN stamps in Swiss francs on 4 October 1969. An agreement with the Austrian government on 28 June 1979 enabled the Vienna Office of UNPA to issue the first UN stamps in Austrian schillings on 24 August 1979.

With the founding of the UNPA, a truly unique institution was born because the UN was, and still is, the only organization in the world, which, although neither a country nor a territory, is permitted to issue postage stamps. The UNPA also became the only postal authority that issues stamps in three different currencies, namely United States dollars, Swiss francs, and Austrian schillings (now Euros). Since its inception, the UNPA has always operated with a dual mandate: first, to disseminate information on the activities and achievements of the UN and its specialized agencies through the medium of postage stamps, and second, to generate revenue for the UN.

 

In 1868, Heinrich von Stephan, senior postal official from the North German Confederation, drew up a plan for a postal union of civilized countries. At his suggestion, the Swiss Government convened in Berne, from 15 September 1874, a conference, which was attended by representatives from 22 nations. On 9 October 1874, a day now celebrated throughout the world as World Post Day, the Treaty of Berne establishing the General Postal Union was signed. Membership in the Union grew so quickly that the name was changed in 1878 to Universal Postal Union (UPU). By virtue of its mission to promote and develop communication between the peoples of the world, the UPU is called upon to play an important leadership role in promoting the continued revitalization of postal services.