Ten years after the first International Telegraph Conference (Paris, 1865), the fourth plenipotentiary conference took place in St. Petersburg. This conference completely re-drafted the International Telegraph Convention. The new, simplified Convention contained only general provisions of a policy nature that would remain in effect for an “indeterminate length of time” (Article 20). All the details of a transitory and specific nature that could be subject to frequent changes with the progress of technology were put into the “Regulations for international service” (also known as the Telegraph Regulations). The new Convention contained only 21 articles as compared with the 65 in the previous Convention (Rome, 1872).
For the future, the conference created “Administrative Conferences” which would be responsible for revising the Regulations and the Table of Telegraphic Rates (Articles 15-16). Administrative conferences would be attended by technical experts from the member states who would not have the right to revise any of the provisions of the International Telegraph Convention itself. The Convention could only be revised by a plenipotentiary conference.
After the St. Petersburg Conference, the Union held a series of Administrative Conferences to revise the Telegraph Regulations, but the next Plenipotentiary Conference to revise the International Telegraph Convention was not held until 1932.