Indochina, International Control Commission, 1957; The International Control Commission was created as a result of the Geneva Accords in order to implement the framework of the agreement that essentially separated Vietnam into North- and South Vietnam. Those task included, of course, peace-keeping but also logistical issues like moving Vietnamese from North or South and vice versa and trafficking of arms. The ICC was also in charge of guarding the basic human rights of the entire population and to act if individuals or a group of individuals met with reprisals on part of Government action. The force included troops from India, Poland and Canada. However, given that the ICC could point out violations but not enforce the policing of them it essentially was a paper tiger that got gradually reduced in importance as the United States and the Soviet Union continued undermined peace in Vietnam by supporting their respective side with enormous economic and military aid during the 1960’s. The straw that broke the camels back for the ICC was when India started to normalize political relations with North but not South Vietnam essentially moving away from neutral ground. The loss of faith in the commission’s impartiality and the lack of any enforcement power eventually lead to a shut-down of the commission in March of 1973.

Initially the commission simply used stamps from their respective countries to send mail but in December of 1954 and April 1st, 1957 Indian stamps, overprinted for Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were specifically produced for the commission’s use.

Here is an official  letter using an un-overprinted Indian stamp sent in October of 1954 to Patiala, India. The letter is cancelled with the “mute” Field Post Office 745 cancel. Patiala arrival cancel on the reverse.

Here is another letter where an un-overprinted Indian stamp was used on a letter sent from Hanoi to Patialia, India in December of 1954. The letter is cancelled with the Indian Army Field Post Office cancel from Hanoi. Patiala arrival cancel on the reverse.

Ten stamps with nominals of 3P, 1A, 2A, 8A, 12A, 2NP, 6NP, 50NP and 75NP were released on April 1st, 1957. The overprint varies slightly from Laos to Cambodia to Vietnam.

Here is the 3NP value showing as a sample the different overprints for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Here is the mint set overprinted for use in Vietnam

overprinted for use in Laos

overprinted for use in Cambodia

Between 1962 and 1965 six stamps were released that featured thew water-mark “stars”. Here is the set with the overprint for Vietnam.

On occasion of the “Day of the Indian Army” another overprint “ICC” that was identical for all three territories was issued on January 15th, 1965.

Official First Day Cover for the Vietnam overprint from December 1st, 1954 postally used and sent from Hanoi to Bombay, India. Military arrival cancel “56 Base PostOffice” on the reverse. The letter took only 6 days.

Official First Day Cover for the Laos overprint from April 1st, 1957

Official First Day Cover cancelled with the 743 F.P.O. “mute” cancel used in Hanoi.

Official First Day Cover cancelled with the 742 F.P.O. “mute” cancel used in Saigon.

Official First Day Cover cancelled with the 744 F.P.O. “mute” cancel used in Vientiane.

Here is the overprinted stamps on pieces that feature the First day Cancels for Saigon (F.P.O. 742), Vientiane (F.P.O. 744) and Hanoi (F.P.O. 743).

Philatelic envelope featuring the partial set and cancelled with the overprint for Vietnam “mute” F.P.O. 742 field post cancel from June of 1960. It is unlikely that this letter ever entered the mail stream.

Philatelic envelope featuring the partial set with the Laos overprint and cancelled with the “mute” F.P.O. 744 field post cancel.

Philatelic envelope featuring the partial set with the Laos overprint and cancelled with the “mute” F.P.O. 744 field post cancel.

Rare registered air mail letter featuring a mixed franking of the stamps overprinted for Vietnam and paying an overall postage of 23.3A and sent in May of 1955 from Hanoi to the well known philatelist Theo Klewitz in West Germany. Cancelled with the “mute” F.P.O. 743 “mute” field post cancel .”56 Base P.D. Set 1″ military transit and Fulda arrival cancel on the reverse.

Rare registered air mail letter sent by a major in Phnom Penh to the well known philatelist Theo Klewitz in November of 1957 featuring stamps overprinted for Cambodia paying an overall postage of 146NP. Cancel by the “mute” F.P.O. 745 field post cancel. “56 Base P.D., Set 4” military transit cancel on the reverse.

Rare international air mail letter sent by a Canadian Colonel in Hanoi to a civilian in Canada inMarch of 1958 featuring a mixed franking of the stamps overprinted for Vietnam and paying an overall postage of 36NP. This documents that the other nations (Canada and Poland) made also use of the Indian military postal system.

Rare registered postal Indian stationary that was supplemented with five 13NP overprinted stamps paying an overall postage of 80NP on a letter sent by an accountant in Phnom Penh to the State Bank of India from August of 1963. It appears though that the letter was actually mailed from Hanoi as it carried stamps overprinted for Vietnam and the field post cancel F.P.O 742 and registration label from the same office. Both were used in Hanoi. Ganjuan transit and “Central Base Post Office” regimental arrival cancel on the reverse.

Rare express air mail mail letter featuring a mixed franking of the overprint for Vietnam and paying an overall postage of 28NP and sent to Vepary, India in January of 1965. Cancelled with the “mute” F.P.O.742 field post cancel. Vepary arrival cancel on the reverse.

Rare registered official letter sent by the Commission in Saigon to the Ministry of Extrenal Affairs in New Delhi, India and featuring a multiple franking of the overprinted stamp 0.75 in January of 1965. Cancelled with the “mute” F.P.O. 742 field post cancel. Indian Army transit and arrival cancels on the reverse.

Rare registered letter sent by a member of the commission in Laos to the Oriental Fire and general Insurance Company in Calcutta, India. The letter was franked with two stamps (overprinted for Laos)  and cancelled with the “mute” F.P.O. 744 field post cancel. Various military transit and arrival cancels on the reverse.

Rare single franking of the 0.15 ICC overprinted stamp on a letter sent from F.P.O. 742 (Hanoi) to Madras in India on July 13th, 1966. According to notes by Gregor Schwirtz, the postal service was closed shortly thereafter due to the heavy U.S. bombardments.

Another overprinted set for the commission was issued on October 2nd, 1968 but this was probably for philatelists philatelic purposes as the Hanoi and Phnom Penh field post office had already closed in 1966. Below is the mint set and the Official First Day Covers that were produced for Saigon (F.P.O.742) and Vientianne (F.P.O. 744).

Registration Nr. 099900

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