The 1958 Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was held at the Bâtiment Electoral in Geneva. The main purpose of the Conference was to revise the Telegraph and Telephone Regulations that were previously adopted in Paris in 1949. There were 1296 proposals submitted to the Conference. A number of changes were made to both the Telegraph and Telephone Regulations; however, the great majority of these changes applied to operating methods.
In response to the suggestion made at the 1949 International Telegraph and Telephone Conference in Paris to develop intercontinental telephone services, significant changes were made to the Telephone Regulations in order to give them universal applicability. Prior to this, the Telephone Regulations largely applied only to the European system, including African and Asian nations which bordered Europe. The principle that the Telephone Regulations should be world-wide in scope was adopted by a large majority of the Conference. However, despite the changes made to the Telephone Regulations that gave them universal applicability, the United States still found them restrictive and refused to sign.
Among the detailed changes made to the Telegraph Regulations, new possibilities for the signals used to draw up telegrams were introduced, and a new chapter (XVI) including provisions concerning the safety of human life was added.
The Conference decided that the existing conference/treaty method was not only becoming too expensive, but more significantly it was too slow to keep up with rapid changes in telegraph and telephone technology. Therefore, it requested that the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT) investigate the possibility of substituting CCITT Recommendations for the vast majority of the regulatory treaty obligations. The results of the CCITT investigation were to be presented to the 1973 World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference.