HC Deb 14 December 1908 vol 198 cc1215-6

To ask the Postmaster-General whether, at the Postal Union Conference held in Rome in 1886, it was agreed that the weight of a letter at the minimum rate of postage to and from foreign countries be one ounce or the equivalent of an ounce; whether he will state what countries have carried into effect this reform, what is the present rate of postage and weight allowed for each letter from the following countries to Great Britain and Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Roumania, Russia, and United States; and whether he has any objection to publish the above information in the next issue of the British "Postal Guide."

(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The international unit of weight for a letter was not fixed at one ounce or the equivalent of one ounce. The unit decided on was 20 grammes, less than three-fourths of an ounce. But on the motion of the British delegates, permission was given to certain States, of which Great Britain was one, to adopt one ounce as the unit weight. At the same time other States were permitted to retain the former unit of 15 grammes. In the result, some States of the Union have fixed the unit weight for letters in the International service at 15 grammes, some at 20 grammes, and some at one ounce. I will send the hon. Member the detailed information he asks for. I could not undertake to publish it in the "Post Office Guide."