Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/119

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not only to exchange ideas, but to lay the foundation for an actual treaty. Since 1865 there has been a Telegraphic Union. Why not also have a Postal Union? As a consequence of these negotiations, which were interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War, and subsequently resumed, Switzerland convoked at Berne the delegates of the European Governments and of the United States on the 1st of September, 1873. Different powers, principal among which were France and Russia, having manifested an intention to abstain from the conference, it was adjourned. It reconvened September 15, 1874; and included delegates from all the European powers, from Egypt, and the United States. Notwithstanding the numerous difficulties met with, among which may be mentioned the differences resulting from the wide separation of some of the countries, the enormous inequality of their territories, a great diversity of views on economic and financial points, and, finally, the power, always strong, of existing arrangements, a Postal Union was finally formed, after fifteen sessions of the convention.

The delegates were many of them general directors of the postal departments of their respective countries. Those of Germany played a preponderating rĂ´le in the Congress, because it was from them came the initiative of the reunion, and the discussion bore largely on their project; the Belgian delegates also took an active part. The delegates of France and Great Britain were, on the contrary, not very active in the formation of the Union. France, for divers reasons, could not view the project with favor; she was principally kept back by fear of the consequences to her finances that would follow the signing of the treaty, so terrible was the strain on her exchequer of the trying events of 1870-'71. Her delegates took no part in the discussions, nor in the voting on the different provisions of the treaty; but the pressure of public opinion compelled her to sign the treaty which was concluded between the powers on the 9th of October, 1874.

Besides the treaty, the delegates also signed a detailed regulation for the execution of the treaty. There is this difference between the two acts: the first can not be modified or amended but by the action of representatives fortified with the full powers of their Governments; while the other can be agreed upon between the administrators of the various postal departments. The first is a diplomatic act, the second an administrative arrangement. The same course was followed at St. Petersburg, in 1875, in establishing the Telegraphic Union.

The Union is not limited to the countries signing the Berne treaty. That treaty provided for the accession of new members; and since 1874 other nations than the original contracting parties have joined it, and in the near future we may see a universal postal association, embracing the entire world.

Turkey, on account of its peculiar international situation, is distinguished in this treaty from the other contracting parties, inasmuch as its foreign correspondence is made through foreign offices. Thus