Improvements in Charges and Settlements of International Mail Accounts

ID-77-38: Published: Aug 30, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 30, 1977.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Universal Postal Union--composed of the United States and 156 other countries--makes the rules for exchanging mail between countries and sets charges for services performed. In 1976 the United States charged other countries $47 million for international mail services and was charged $59 million. U.S. agencies are actively pursuing collection of balances due the United States and U.S. flag carriers.

Monetary gains or losses are incurred in settling international postal accounts because there are differences between the market exchange rates of the countries' currencies and their exchange rates set under the monetary standard used to settle accounts. Continued use of the gold franc as the monetary standard of the Universal Postal Union is unrealistic. Coordination between the Postal Service and the Department of State in collecting delinquent debts owed the United States and U.S. air carriers for international mail services has improved in recent years.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The present monetary standard, the gold franc, should be replaced by a more realistic standard for setting charges and settling international mail accounts. More equitable procedures should be established to determine and monitor charges for handling and distributing international mail.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 19, 2017

Oct 12, 2017

Oct 4, 2017

Sep 28, 2017

Sep 19, 2017

Sep 13, 2017

Sep 7, 2017

  • international icon: Art Explosion

    Diplomatic Security:

    Key Oversight Issues
    GAO-17-681SP: Published: Sep 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 2017.

Sep 5, 2017

Aug 29, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here