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Overland Mail Baghdad Haifa Pages

Correspondence between UK General Post Office and Iraq Post Office


By Air Mail


The Director General of Posts and Telegraphs



Letter sent: 25 June 1923

Signed: M. Francis

Registered Number: 157326/23

Their Reference S21/22



With reference to your letter of the 16th ultimo, i am directed to inform you that the Postmaster General was much interested to receive details of the proposed weekly motor transport Mail Service between Baghdad and Haifa. In view of the material acceleration which is expected, he would be glad to make as full use as possible of the route for the Mails from the United Kingdom.


The proposed charge of 3 rupees per lb. on the gross weight of the Mails send by the new service raises however points of difficulty not merely on financial grounds but on a question of principle.

As Iraq has not yet entered the Postal Union, it is perhaps at liberty to make a special charge for the conveyance by the desert route of Mails from other countries and to impose an additional rate on letters posted in Iraq for transmission by this route. But under Art. 19 of the Postal Union Convention the British Post Office is bound in its relations with Iraq to use its best endeavours to bring about the application of ordinary Postal Union transit rates to the new service. These rates would be 1 franc 50 centimes (gold) for letters and postcards and 20 centimes (gold) for other articles, per kilogramme of nett weight  on the assumption that the transit is partly at any rate, over territory which is outside the limits of Iraq, and is not within the territory of some other Postal Administration; for, under Postal Union arrangements, the terminal country does not receive any payment for the conveyance in its own territory of incoming mails. If the transit could be made subject to ordinary Postal Union conditions, including the acceptance for registered articles, it might be expected that the whole off the Mails from Europe and beyond for Iraq and Persia would be sent without restrictions by the desert route, subject to the.... ???? ....; and it is a question whether this would not be a better financial prop.... than the consignments a much smaller quantity of Mails at the higher rate.

It should perhaps be pointed out that the rate of 3 rupees a lb. equal to about 11 francs (gold) a kilogramme, will be in addition to transit rates to Palestine and Syria and possible Transjordania, so that the additional cost to any other country using the new route will be considerable. In this connexion the Postmaster General will be glad to be informed ????? through what territories the route will pass.

The Postmaster General would prefer and arrangement which would permit of the of the use of the new route for transmission of the whole of the Mails.

He will be glad therefore if the matter can be further considered, and he will also be obliged if early notification can be given to him of the date when the service will begin.


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