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Telegraph and Telephone Conferences

International Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Paris, 1949)

18 May - 4 August 1949 - Paris, France

An International Telegraph and Telephone Conference was scheduled to be held in Rome in 1942; however, due to the continuation of World War II it was postponed. Therefore, the 1949 Conference in Paris was the first Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference held since the 1938 Cairo Conference.

Nearly seventy countries attended the Conference in Paris to amend the telegraph and telephone regulations drawn up at the Cairo Conference. Twelve plenary sessions and over one hundred committee meetings were held during the Conference. Approximately 700 proposals regarding telegraphy and 100 proposals regarding telephony were put forth.

Much of the work had been done in early 1949 in the months leading up to the conference. The International Telegraph Consultative Committee (CCIT) created the International Telegraph Regulations Revision Committee, which met in January and February of 1949 to draft proposals for amending the Telegraph Regulations so that they could be accepted by all members. Prior to this, several nations, including the United States, had telegraph systems operated by private companies rather than the government and had not signed the regulations because many of the provisions applied only to government operated systems.

The Paris Conference subsequently approved many significant and detailed changes to the Telegraph Regulations pertaining to letter codes, classes of telegrams, methods of accounting and priority levels of telegraphy services.

As for the Telephone Regulations, only minor changes were made. By 1949, through the development of radiotelephone circuits, a nearly complete intercontinental telephone system had been developed. This led to the request for a set of truly international telephone regulations, a suggestion that was passed on to the CCIF for consideration and review. The opinions of the CCIF on this matter were to be presented at the next International Telegraph and Telephone Conference. In the meantime, the International Telephone Regulations would continue to apply only to countries within the European system, whereas the telegraphy regulations were applicable throughout the world.

After 85 years of membership, the United States signed the Telegraph Regulations for the first time. This was one of the most significant outcomes of the conference because it was the first time in the history of its membership that the U.S.A. agreed to be bound to the Telegraph Regulations. However, both the U.S.A and Canada refused to sign the Telephone Regulations since they largely applied only to European countries.
International Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Paris, 1949)


Charles Lange, Director Genereal of Telecommunications, Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones (France)

Countries participating


    List of participants

    • Liste des hautes personalités du Secrétariat d'état aux P.T.T. et des membres de la Conférence télégraphique et téléphonique internationale de Paris 1949

Library Catalogue

  • Link to the Library Catalogue (Paris, 1949)