Page images


Office Of The Postmaster General,

Washington, July 23, 1918.

I realize the immensity of the task which has been intrusted to nie by the President's order. The telegraph and telephone service as conducted by those who have had the responsibility under conditions heretofore existing has been remarkably successful considering the unsual additions to their task and the unprecedented difficulties in the way of its full performance which have arisen out of the war—difficulties which could be overcome only by a unity of administration, particularly a unification of the use of the telephone and telegraph lines, which could not be realized without the aid of the Government.

Under the President's order conditions are changed and greater opportunity is afforded to effect improvements and economies and a larger use by the people of these facilities which have become an imperative need in their everyday life. Whether advantage can be taken of these opportunities to improve this service to the public remains to be disclosed by experience. Every effort of the department will be directed to the accomplishment of this end. It will be the purpose of the Post Office Department to broaden the use of the service at the least cost to the people, keeping in mind that a high standard of efficiency must be maintained. I shall avail myself of an early opportunity to consult with those who have heretofore had the responsibility of directing the affairs of the various wire systems taken over, and I doubt not will be greatly benefited by suggestions they may be kind enough to offer me. The operation or control -of what are commonly called farmers' telephone lines will be interfered with only for the purpose of facilitating their connections with the longer lines. There will be no change affecting the press-wire service except to improve it wherever possible. Of course, no general policy has been decided upon and will not be until a most careful survey of the whole situation is had and a grasp of conditions as they now exist secured. I shall freely avail myself of all advice and suggestions whicb those in a position to make same valuable may be good enough to offer me.

Whenever it is necessary to inaugurate any changes of policy, announcement of such will be made through the Postmaster General.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.


Wire Control Board. Order No. 1744. July 23, 1918.

Postmaster General Burleson to-day issued the following order for the governmental control of the telegraph and telephone systems covered by the proclamation of the President dated July 22, 1918.

"July 23, 1918.

"John C. Koons, First Assistant Postmaster General; David J. Lewis, commissioner, United States Tariff Commission; and William H. Lamar, Solicitor for the Post Office Department, are hereby appointed a committee for the governmental management, operation, and control of the telegraph and telephonesystems covered by the proclamation of the President dated July 22, 1918, of which committee the Postmaster General shall be chairman.

"A. S. Burleson,

"Postmaster General."

In announcing the appointment of this committee the Postmaster General stated that while the committee would have charge of the governmental management, operation, and control of the telegraph and telephone systems, yet it would be necessary to divide its work to a certain extent, and that Mr. Koons and the Postmaster General would have charge of the administration and organization of the service, Mr. Lewis and the Postmaster General of its operation, and Mr. Lamar and the Postmaster General of the finances.


Order Assuming Possession And Control.

Order No. 1783. August 1, 191S.

Pursuant to the proclamation of the President of the United States, I haveassumed possession, control, and supervision of the telegraph and telephone systems of the United States. This proclamation has already been published and the officers, operators, and employees of the various telegraph and telephone companies are acquainted with its terms.

Until further notice the telegraph and telephone companies shall continueoperation in the ordinary course of business through regular channels. Regular dividends heretofore declared and maturing interest on bonds, debentures, and other obligations may be paid in due course, and the companies may renew or extend their maturing obligations unless otherwise ordered by the Postmaster General. All officers, operators, and employees of the telegraph and telephone companies will continue in the performance of their present duties, reporting tothe same officers as heretofore and on the same terms of employment. Should any officer, operator, or employee desire to leave the service, he should give notice as heretofore to the proper officer, so that there may be no interruption or impairment of the service to the public.

I earnestly request the loyal cooperation of all officers, operators, and employees and the public, in order that the service rendered shall not only bemaintained at a high standard but improved wherever possible. It is the purpose to coordinate and unify these services so that they may be operated as a national system with due regard to the interests of the public and the owners of the properties.

No changes will be made until after the most careful consideration of all thefacts. When deemed advisable to make changes, due announcement will bemade.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.


Consolidation or Competing Telephone Systems.

August 7, 1918.

The Governmental operation and control of the telephone systems of the country will undoubtedly cause the coordination and consolidation of competing systems wherever possible. Investigation by the committee in charge of the telegraph and telephone services shows that negotiations were already under way for the consolidation of a number of competing telephone systems at the time the Government assumed control. These negotiations, as well as those for changes in rates, should be continued. When an agreement is reached for changes in rates or in the matter of consolidation, it should be submitted to the Post Office Department for approval. Where consolidations should be made, but the negotiations have not yet begun, there is no objection to the companies taking up such negotiations.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.


Extensions And Betterments Curtailed.

Order No. 1858. August 15, 1918.

To all telephone companies:

Pursuant to the authority vested in me by the President of the United States in his proclamation of July 22, 1918, you are notified that during the period of Federal control, and unless and until otherwise advised by me, all telephone companies operating in the United States are directed:

1. To confine extensions and betterments to imperative and unavoidable work to meet war requirements and the vital commercial needs of the country. All companies should at once adopt and enforce such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper to accomplish this result because of the difficulties, incident to war conditions, of securing adequate supplies, labor, and transportation.

2. To proceed as expeditiously as possible with the plans heretofore instituted for consolidating and unifying the telephone plants and properties. Plans for consolidating the plants and properties where consolidation is manifestly desired by the public, where it can be effected on fair terms and in accordance with law, should be formulated as soon as practicable and submitted to this department.

3. Whenever two telephone systems are operating in the same area the managements concerned should cooperate in making extensions and betterments, in order that unification and the elimination of waste in money, man power, and materials may be brought about as expeditiously as possible, in an orderly way, and with due regard to the rights of the owners of the properties and the convenience of the public.

4. This order is not intended to direct any action, course, or policy which in the judgment of the owners of any property involved will result in damage or injury to their business or property. In any case of contemplated action hereunder, where in the judgment of the owners damage or injury may result, the company in interest, before acting, will bring the matter to the attention of the department and await further instructions.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.

(See Bulletin No. 18, revoking paragraph L)

Committee On Consolidation Of Telephone Systems. Order No. 1855. August 15, 1918.

Nathan C. Kingsbury, vice president American Telegraph & Telephone Co., and George W. Robinson, president Tri-State Telegraph & Telephone Co., are hereby designated by me for the purpose of making the necessary investigations, conducting negotiations, and arriving at agreements for the unification and consolidation of the various telephone companies operating in the same communities within the United States. Any agreements resulting from these negotiations will be submitted to the Postmaster General for final approval.


Postmaster General.


Service Connection Charges. Order No. 1931. August 28, 1918.

Owing to the necessity for conserving labor and material and to eliminate a cost which is now borne by the permanent user of the telephone, a readiness to serve or installation charge will be made on and after September 1, 1918, for all new installations; also charge for all changes in location of telephones.

Installation charges to be as follows:

Where the rate is $2 a month or less $5

Where the rate is more than $2. but not exceeding $4 a month. 10
Where the rate is more than $4 a month 15

The moving charge to the subscriber will be the actual cost of labor and material necessary for making the change.

In accordance with Bulletin No. 2, issued by me August 1, 1918, stating that "until further notice the telegraph and telephone companies shall continue operation in the ordinary course of business through regular channels," in all cases where rate adjustments are pending or immediately necessary, they should be taken up by the company involved through the usual channels and action obtained wherever possible. In all cases, however, where rates are changed, such changes should be submitted to me for approval before being placed in effect.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.

(See Bulletins Nos. 8 and 15.)


Notice Of Resignations.

Septemrer 5, 1918.

To all telephone and telegraph companies:

Some telephone and telegraph companies have reported to the department that they are being seriously embarrassed in the operation of their services by employees leaving immediately upon submitting their resignations. In many cases they do so to engage in nonessential work. In order that the telephone and telegraph services may not be handicapped in their operation, employees should give the usual two weeks' notice when they desire to terminate their employment.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.


Deferred Classification Of Employees In Draft.

Septemrer 10, 1918.

To all telegraph and telephone companies:

Telegraph and telephone companies are hereby authorized to file claims with the local exemption boards for deferred classification for employees who are absolutely indispensable to the operation of the service. The claims for deferred classification shall be sworn to by the supervisory officer under whom the employee works. However, before filing the claim with the local exemption board it must be approved by the division head in charge of the territory in which the employee is registered.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.

Deferred Classification Of Employees.

Septemrer 20, 1918.

To all telegraph and telephone companies:

With reference to Bulletin No. 7, dated September 10, 1918, authorizing telegraph and telephone companies to file claims with local boards for deferred classification for employees who are absolutely indispensable to the operation of the service, telegraph and telephone companies are directed to instruct supervisory officers to incorporate in such affidavits for deferred classification Bulletin No. 7 of the Postmaster General on this subject.

A. S. Burleson,

Postmaster General.


Service Connection Charges.

Septemrer 14, 1918. Order No. 1931, issued by me under date of August 28, provided certain charges for all installations of telephones on and after September 1, 1918; also a charge for the "moving" of telephones. On account of the many inquiries regarding the order the following instructions are issued:

1. Installation charges made effective by Order No. 1931 shall be referred to by telephone companies and collected from subscribers as "Service.-Connection Charges " and shall be based on the minimum net rate charged to the subscriber. These service-connection charges shall be collected from all applicants for new or additional service at the time of application and before such new service or additional service is established.

2. In cases of "Changes of Name," or where no lapse of service occurs, the minimum charge of $3 shall apply in all cases.

3. Service-connection charges do not apply to extension bells, push buttons, buzzers, or miscellaneous equipment of like character, nor to directory listings.

4. With the exceptions above noted the service-connection charge shall apply to each class of service and class of equipment furnished the applicant for which the company shall have a regular separate established rate, and the amount of the service-connection charge shall be determined by the amount of the regular established rate, in accordance with the terms of Order No. 1931.

5. All subscribers who pay the service-connection charges established under Order No. 1931 shall be relieved of any other service-connection charges, cancellation charges, charges made in liquidation of damages on account of short


« PreviousContinue »