THE POSTAL HISTORY OF ICAO

 

The Secretary General

 

According to Article 54.h of the Chicago Convention, the ICAO Council appoints a Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat who shall be called Secretary General. The Secretary General is appointed for a period of three years, a term of office that may be renewed once for the same period of time.

In almost 70 years of existence of the Organization, the Secretariat has been run by 11 Secretaries General:

1.     Albert Roper (France). Secretary General of PICAO and first Secretary General of ICAO. Term of Office: 15 August 1945 to 31 December 1951. Note that he was simultaneously the Secretary General of ICAN (International Commission for Air Navigation) and PICAO.

2.    Carl Ljungberg (Sweden). Term of Office: 1 January 1952 to 31 July 1959.

3.    Ronald MacAlister Macdonnell (Canada). Term of Office: 1 August 1959 to 31 July 1964.

4.    Bernardus Tieleman Twigt (Netherlands). Term of Office: 1 August 1964 to 31 July 1970.

5.    Assad Kotaite (Lebanon). Term of Office: 1 August 1970 to 31 July 1976.

6.    Yves Lambert (France). Term of Office: 1 August 1976 to 31 July 1988.

7.    Shivinder Singh Sidhu (India). Term of Office: 1 August 1988 to 31 July 1991.

8.    Philippe Rochat (Switzerland). Term of Office: 1 August 1991 to 31 July 1997.

9.    Renato Cláudio Costa Pereira (Brazil). Term of Office: 1 August 1997 to 31 July 2003.

10. M. Taïeb Chérif (Algeria). Term of Office: 1 August 2003 to 31 July 2009.

11.  Raymond Benjamin (France). Term of Office: 1 August 2009 to 31 July 2015. On 17 March 2013, Mr. Raymond Benjamin, was presented with the Leader of the Year Award by Air Transport News (ATN). ATN presents annual awards in 17 categories specific to the air transport sector. The 2013 award ceremony was held in Montréal to coincide with the influx of air transport CEOs and officials on the eve of ICAO’s Sixth Worldwide Air Transport Conference (ATConf/6).

 

The above shows a commercial cover sent to Dr. A. Roper as Secretary General of PICAO, with a postmark dated 12 May 1947 (a few weeks after ICAO came into being); news regarding the establishment of the permanent ICAO had not flown fast enough to reach the ministries of all governments.

 

At the time of the marriage of Albert Roper’s parents, the scribe of the Town Hall of Dinan, France, had spelled ROPER (instead of ROPERT) the name of his father. As this marriage booklet was thereafter used for the establishment of the birth certificate of Albert, his name was written without final T on all his official papers; whereas Albert Roper always signed with T, so that at the college and the regiment, everyone knew him under the name of ROPERT. It was only at the end of the war 1914-18 that he decided to give up any procedure of correction of all his official papers and birth certificate. Since then, he signed ROPER without T, surprising everyone. 

However, this envelope, sent from Argentina in 1947, spelled the name with T. This is extremely interesting when one knows the origin of the error on the name.

 

Service cover sent from the International Labor Office (ILO)

to Mr. E.C.R. Ljungberg, Secretary General. Postmarked on 15 November 1954.

 

Service cover sent from the UN Conference on the Application of Science and Technology

to Mr. R.M. Macdonnell, Secretary General. Postmarked on 1 June 1962.

 

Service cover sent by the Presidency of the Republic of Bolivia

to Mr. B.T. Twigt, Secretary General. Postmarked on 13 September 1965.

Note the error in the spelling of the name.

 

Service cover sent to Dr. A. Kotaite, Secretary General. Postmarked on 16 July 1971.

 

Service cover sent by UNESCO to Mr. Y. Lambert, Secretary General Designated.

Postmarked on 29 June 1976.

 

Service cover sent to Mr. Y. Lambert, Secretary General. Postmarked on 27 December 1983.

 

Service cover sent from UPU to Dr. S.S. Sidhu, Secretary General. Postmarked on 8 May 1990.

 

Cover sent to Dr. P.H.P. Rochat, Secretary General. Postmarked on 28 December 1992.

 

Cover sent to Mr. R.C. Costa Pereira, Secretary General. Postmarked on 18 December 1998.

 

Cover sent from Trinidad and Tobabo’s CAA to Dr. T. Chérif, Secretary General.

Postmarked on 27 May 2005.

 

Cover sent from Kosovo’s CAA to Mr. R. Benjamin, Secretary General. Postmarked 7 December 2009.

Note that the above stampless cover was postmarked in Kosovo on 7 December 2009, i.e. on the exact day of ICAO’s 65th anniversary.

It was again postmarked at the entrance into Canada on 21 December 2009 by Canada Post (H4T 1A0 postal code, at the main sorting plant of MacArthur Street in the borough of Saint-Laurent, Montreal), which had developed a special postal code H0H 0H0, as per following story. In 1974, staff at Canada Post’s Montreal office was noticing a considerable amount of letters addressed to Saint Nicholas coming into the postal system, and those letters were being treated as undeliverable. Since those employees did not want the writers, mostly young children, to be disappointed at the lack of response, they started answering the letters themselves. The amount of mail sent to Santa Claus increased every Christmas, up to the point that Canada Post decided to start an official Santa Claus letter-response program in 1983. Approximately one million letters come in to Santa Claus each Christmas, including from outside of Canada, and all of them are answered, in the same languages in which they are written. Canada Post introduced a special address for mail to Santa Claus, complete with its own postal code: SANTA CLAUS, NORTH POLE, H0H 0H0, CANADA. In French, Santa's mail is addressed to: PÈRE NOËL, PÔLE NORD, H0H 0H0, CANADA. H0H 0H0 was chosen for this special seasonal use as it reads as "Ho ho ho"....

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