Page images

article was also amended, to require that seizure notices indicate the prohibition involved and the articles which gave rise to the seizure. The Soviet Union also adamantly opposed the amendment to paragraph 7 during the debate at the Congress and subsequently entered a formal


Under this reservation, the Soviet Union is required to provide seizure notices only within the limits of the information provided by customs authorities and in accordance with its internal legislation. Other Soviet block countries joined the Soviet Union in taking this


Article 135 of the Detailed Regulations (Advice of Delivery) was amended by two U.S. proposals intended to increase the instances in which addressees must sign the advice of delivery form. A new paragraph provides that, as a matter of priority, the original advice of delivery form accompanying a registered item must be signed by the addressee whenever possible. A similar amendment to paragraph 5 indicates that, when the sender fails to receive an advice of delivery and initiates an inquiry, and when it is found that the item has been delivered, the duplicate advice of delivery form accompanying the inquiry must also, whenever possible, be signed by the addressee. The final amendment changes Article 136 of the Detailed Regulations (Delivery to the Addressee in Person).


new language provides that when the sender has requested both delivery to the addressee in person and an advice of delivery, the advice of delivery must be signed by the addressee, or if this is impossible, by the addressee's duly authorized representative.

Thus, although these new amendments do not guarantee that the Postal Service will be fully informed about Soviet prohibitions or will always get a satisfactory explanation for the seizure of a particular item, the changes effected leave no doubt that there is a new international standard calling for complete information about prohibitions and for a full explanation of seizures. They also leave no doubt that whenever possible the personal signature of the addressee is to be obtained. These are significant and

useful advances in the UPU regulations.

While there is reason to be pleased with how our proposals fared at the UPU Congress, I think it must be acknowledged that technical changes in the UPU Convention are not likely to cause basic changes in the way the Soviets behave as long as their fundamental policies remain unchanged. For this reason, it is clear that strong efforts aimed at these problems must continue. One vehicle for doing this lies in another proposal approved by the UPU Congress. This proposal, sponsored by France and supported strongly by the United States and other

Western nations, will result in a study by the UPU Executive Council (of which the United States and the Soviet Union are members) seeking additional improvements in the UPU List of Prohibited Items. The U.S. Postal Service will work to try to ensure that this study produces results useful to its mailers.

In addition to these actions, Assistant Postmaster General for International Postal Affairs Walter Duka, Congressman Gilman, and I met with Soviet representatives at the Congress, and reinforced the interest of the United States in working with the Soviets on a bilateral basis to improve services.

These activities should also

To summarize the UPU Congress activity, I think that as a result of total United States actions at Hamburg the world postal community is now more aware than ever of the Soviet policy of mail interference and that the Soviets have been put on notice that they cannot continue their abuses without public censure. strengthen the ability of the Postal Service to deal with these problems in future UPU activity. Since the UPU Congress, the Postal Service has recently followed up on documented cases of incorrect advice-of-delivery notices received from one or more post offices in Moscow, as well as incorrect replies to inquiries received from these same



offices, by bringing these cases to the attention of the Soviet Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and

requesting an investigation. The Postal Service is still awaiting a response to this request.

Are any immediate steps being taken to help those individuals in this country who are trying to send letters and packages to friends and loved ones in the Soviet Union both in terms of costs incurred and delivery?

The Postal Service is obligated by law to establish postage rates in accordance with costs, and service with the Soviet Union is not exempted from this requirement. The efforts of the Postal Service concerning Soviet delivery of this mail were described in the response to the previous question.

What is the official Soviet policy regarding payment of duty on mail from the United States? Can that duty still be paid in advance in the United States or must it be paid in the Soviet Union by the recipients of the letters or packages?

Mail to the Soviet Union containing dutiable items is subject to Soviet customs duties. Until July 31, 1984, a Soviet agency called Vneshposyltorg apparently authorized certain private parcel forwarding companies in the United States to collect customs duties on behalf of the Soviet Union from the sender, thereby relieving the addressee in the Soviet Union from having to bear these costs. Neither the U.S. Postal Service nor the Soviet Ministry of Posts



and Telecommunications took part in these arrangements. Since last July 31, senders in the United States have not been able to pay these duties in advance.

Has there been any thought given to withholding terminal dues payments to the Soviet Union until they deliver properly sent packages and letters as determined by UPU guidelines?

The Postal Service settles its accounts with the Soviet
Union in accordance with the requirements of the UPU
Convention, and "withholds" payments only to the extent
that such "withholding" is authorized by the UPU
Convention. When the Soviet Union fails to respond to an
inquiry and to account for a registered item in accordance
with UPU requirements, and when the Postal Service
consequently makes an indemnity payment to the sender, the
amount of the indemnity serves to reduce Postal Service
payments to the Soviet Union.

Earlier this year, I received a phone call from Betty
Furness. Ms. Furness reports on consumer affairs for a TV
station in New York City. She said that the Postal
Service machines that cancel stamps only read the stamps,
not the amount. It is, therefore, possible to send a
first class letter with less than a 20¢ stamp.
aware of this? Has this been a problem for you?
steps are you taking to remedy this?

Are you

Postal Service cancellation equipment has sensors used to detect red fluorescent and red or green phosphorescent ink (hot ink) for canceling stamps. These sensors do not determine stamp denomination nor are any of our stamps

« PreviousContinue »