UNCLASSIFIED (U)

14 FAM 720

DIPLOMATIC POUCH

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(Office of Origin:  A/LM)

14 FAM 721  DIPLOMATIC POUCH POLICY

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a. The Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Division (A/LM/PMP/DPM) provides diplomatic classified and unclassified pouch services for official items to the Department and to all agencies operating abroad under chief-of-mission (COM) authority.  Classified pouch services are provided in conjunction with the Diplomatic Courier Service (DS/C/DC), which transports and safeguards classified diplomatic pouches.  See 14 FAM 728.5 for more information on diplomatic couriers.

b. Items sent in the diplomatic pouch are solely at the risk of the sender.  The Department assumes no responsibility for loss of or damage to items sent via the diplomatic pouch.  Registry, insurance, and other special postal services are not permitted by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) when mail is forwarded to a final destination by diplomatic pouch.  See 14 FAM 723.2, paragraph c, for packaging standards.

c. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and international law limit the use of diplomatic pouches to diplomatic documents and articles intended for official use.  The Department permits authorized pouch users at some posts to use diplomatic pouches to transmit limited amounts of personal items (see 14 FAM 724 and 14 FAM 740).

d. The USPS recognizes the Department of State as the agent for addressees and considers mail “delivered” to addressee upon delivery to the Department, at which point the mail passes outside of USPS control and is no longer defined as mail, it is defined as an "item."  The USPS Domestic Mail Manual, Section 703, paragraph 3.1.2, recognizes that the Department has the authority to open and inspect all mail sent to it for transmission abroad to determine whether the item meets the Department's standards.  Mail that does not comply may be returned to sender through USPS.

14 FAM 722  Diplomatic Pouch

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a. Diplomatic pouches are opaque, sealed bags or crates that transport official communications, diplomatic documents, and articles of the U.S. Government across international frontiers, intended for official use.

b. Article 27(3) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) requires that “the diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained.”  This provision precludes the inspection of pouch contents, including by x-ray examination, whether pouches are entering or leaving the host country.  With regard to outgoing pouches, guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organization clearly states that its baggage screening requirements do not “require or authorize the screening of diplomatic bags by x-ray or any method inconsistent with the VCDR.”  Therefore, posts must not allow host-government officials to x-ray, inspect or open a diplomatic pouch (see 14 FAH-4 H-235 for procedures for unclassified pouches and 14 FAH-4 H-245 for procedures for classified pouches).

c.  The standard pouch colors and their limitations for use are:

(1)  Tangerine canvas or nylon bags or plastic cases are used for classified pouches only.  Tangerine pouches must not be used for unclassified shipments;

(2)  White canvas or nylon bags are used for unclassified pouches; and

(3)  Gray/black plastic bags are used for unclassified pouches and limited in the number of dispatches.

d. U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mailbags must not be used for diplomatic pouch shipments.

e. Specific pouch contents must not be discussed with or disclosed to any unauthorized person, either U.S. citizen or foreign national.  Communications that discuss pouch contents must be marked at least “Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU).”  Depending on the specific information provided pertinent to the item(s) discussed, communications may be marked “Confidential” or higher.

f.  See 14 FAH-4 H-213.1 for types of pouch containers and weight limitations.

14 FAM 723  items in pouches

14 FAM 723.1  Items That May Be Transported in a Diplomatic Pouch

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a. Primary purpose:  The primary use of the diplomatic pouch is to transport items between U.S. Government agencies for the official use of the U.S. Government.  The Department transmits unclassified and sensitive but unclassified (SBU) items in unclassified pouches.  The Department transmits Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret items in classified pouches.  Unclassified and SBU items that warrant courier handling due to their sensitivity may also be sent in classified pouches.

b. Official unclassified items:  Unclassified items are sent to posts from Department offices through the unclassified diplomatic pouch but items are limited in size and weight (see 14 FAH-4 H-213.1 for limitations by type of container).

    NOTE:  “Items” does not mean official purchases from vendors.  Posts must use the U.S. Despatch Agencies for shipment of official unclassified supplies or equipment from a vendor.  In urgent situations, posts may use the unclassified pouch for official supplies or equipment, but posts are requested to limit orders to 6 cubic feet per shipment (approximately the size of five-copy paper boxes).  If these parameters are exceeded, funding is required (see 14 FAM 723.3 regarding bulk shipments).

c.  Official classified items:  While the Department places no size or weight limit on official items being sent through the classified diplomatic pouch, some posts have size or weight restrictions; these are listed on the Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Division A/LM/PMP/DPM website.  Other agency and some Department shipments will be billed by the Department’s Office of Diplomatic Courier Service (DS/C/DC) for transportation.  Please contact WRDCD-OPS@state.gov for questions pertaining to this topic.  Classified material received in a sealed container (envelope, box, etc.) from any source must be controlled and accounted for by a registry number on a bar-coded Form OF-120, Diplomatic Pouch Mail Registration, or similar barcode-readable control number from point of origin to addressee/destination.  The originator is responsible for affixing appropriate registry forms and indicating proper classification on items (see 12 FAM 539.4-2 and 14 FAH-4 H-222.1, paragraph c).

d. Personal mail:  Authorized personnel at Category B posts (see 14 FAH-4 H-113.2) have full use of the diplomatic pouch for personal mail.  Eligible personal items for authorized personnel at Category B posts are letters, flats, and parcels that are limited in size, weight, and content (see 14 FAH-4 H-213.1 for size and weight limitations; 14 FAM Exhibit 723.2 for content limitations; 14 FAM 724.1-3 for personal office and training materials; and 14 FAM 740 for regulations on personal mail).

14 FAM 723.2  Items That May Not Be Transported in a Diplomatic Pouch

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a. Prohibited items:  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations require that all parcels boarding aircraft be x-rayed.  The Department x-rays items for outgoing pouch transmission at A/LM/PMP/DPM's Unclassified Pouch Facility (DPM/U) at SA-32.  Classified or unclassified pouches must not contain items that are illegal to import into the receiving country, or export from the sending country, or items that are prohibited (see 14 FAM Exhibit 723.2 for a representative list of items prohibited for pouch dispatch).

b. Unclassified official supplies:  See 14 FAM 310 for regulations on shipping official supplies and equipment.  The Department's policy requires the shipment of official supplies through the U.S. Despatch Agency:

(1)  The diplomatic pouch must not be used to transport unclassified items procured from vendors for official use, except in very limited circumstances (see 14 FAM 723.1, paragraph b).  A diplomatic pouch is an expedited service and is consequently much more expensive than normal freight channels.  In the event an office has an emergency or an urgent need to use the diplomatic pouch to ship a bulk shipment, the ordering office must provide fiscal data to DPM/U in advance of shipment to pay the transportation cost (see 14 FAM 723.3); and

(2)  The Department must not use the Military Postal Service (MPS) or Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) to transport official supplies.  Official unclassified supplies for Category A or Category C posts should be transported through the Department’s Despatch Agency system, through international mail, commercial courier or cargo services.

c.  Packaging:  Items intended for pouch dispatch must be packaged properly to withstand transport and rough handling without content or package breakage, injury to handlers, or damage to other items in the pouch.  Senders must follow these general standards for packaging:

(1)  Cushion fragile items to withstand rough handling in processing, transportation, and delivery; e.g., to withstand a 10-foot drop without breakage;

(2)  Seal powders and allowable liquids in plastic bags to prevent spillage and leakage;

(3)  Package contents so they do not shift within the mailing container;

(4)  Provide enough space for the cushioning material, and ensure the size of the box is adequate to contain the items; and

(5)  Use boxes with the appropriate strength for the weight of the contents:

(a)  Paperboard boxes may be used for easy and average loads up to 10 lbs;

(b)  Metal-stayed paperboard boxes for easy and average loads up to 20 lbs;

(c)  Solid and corrugated fiberboard boxes as follows:  box grade 125 up to 20 lbs; box grade 175 up to 40 lbs; box grade 200 up to 65 lbs; and box grade 275 up to 70 lbs; and

(d)  Good, rigid, used boxes with all flaps intact are acceptable.

d.     Personal items:  U.S. Government employees (or anyone acting on the employee’s behalf) may not use the diplomatic pouch to transport personal items to a post abroad or to a domestic address, except in very limited circumstances (see 14 FAM 740 for details on regulations on personal mail and 14 FAM 724.1-3 for personal office materials).  Prohibitions against using the diplomatic pouch for personal items includes:

(1)  Household effects (HHE) and unaccompanied baggage (UAB), including professional materials.  See 14 FAM 610 for regulations on shipping HHE and UAB.  Shipping HHE or UAB by diplomatic pouch to circumvent HHE or UAB weight limits is a serious abuse of pouch privileges and is subject to punitive action requiring the sender to reimburse the U.S. Government for transportation costs (see 14 FAM 742.4-1).  (See 14 FAM 742.4-2 regarding consumables);

(2)  Items for personal businesses (such as hair-dressing products);

(3)  Items for charitable donation (such as school supplies for an orphanage); and

(4)  Items intended for sale or resale (such as cookies).

e. Hazmat:  Diplomatic pouches must not contain items that:

(1)  Are illegal to import into or export from the country of origin or destination; and

(2)  Violate the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR); or

(3)  Are harmful to human life or the environment.  An attempt to transmit items that are prohibited will result in loss of pouch privileges and disciplinary action (see 14 FAM 726).

f.  Mass mailings:  Individuals, organizations, and businesses are not authorized to use the diplomatic pouch to send unsolicited advertisements in the form of mass mailings or any like materials.

g. Extra services:  The Department and USPS do not accept items for transmission abroad in a diplomatic pouch that require extra services such as cash on delivery (COD), insured mail, registered mail, restricted delivery, special handing or adult signature required and adult signature restricted delivery.  If a sender requests one of these services, USPS returns the item to the sender with the endorsement “Service Not Available.”

14 FAM 723.3  Bulk Shipments Through the Diplomatic Pouch

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a. Definition of bulk shipment:  A shipment(s) that arrives at DPM/U within 7 calendar days (whether a single item or multiple parcels) that exceeds 6 cubic feet in volume (approximately the size of five copy paper boxes) and is addressed to one addressee/household.  Bulk shipments also include automotive tires (whether a single tire or multiple tires), and shipments that originate from the same location/ZIP addressed to multiple people at post and appear to have been sent in order to circumvent the bulk shipment policy.  To calculate shipment volume and transportation cost responsibility, see below:

(1)  To determine the volume of a box in cubic feet, multiply width x length x depth (all in inches) and divide the sum by 1728 (equates to 1 cubic foot).  For example, a box that measures 24” x 24” x 18” = 10,368 cubic inches.  Divide 10,368 by 1,728 = 6 cubic feet.  This would be considered a bulk shipment; and

(2)  Bulk shipments cannot be split in order to avoid transportation charges. Bulk shipments require the intended recipient or sender to pay transportation costs and any other fees associated with the shipment.

b. Department Of State official bulk shipments:

(1)  Avoid bulk shipments:  Posts are required to scrutinize all purchase orders with U.S. vendors for the correct shipping instructions.  If the items ordered fit the definition of a bulk shipment listed above, the shipment should be sent to the appropriate U.S. Despatch Agency (either by sea or by air freight) instead of the pouch facility.  If you need the items urgently, you may request the Despatch Agency to send the items LCL (“less than a container load”) or by air freight, or ask the vendor for commercial transportation company charges;

(2)  Notify DPM/U about bulk shipments:  If you err and ask a vendor to ship to your pouch address, and the items ordered will take up more space than 6 cubic feet, post must provide fiscal data to DPM/U in advance of shipment to pay for the transportation cost.  Use the A/LM/PMP/DPM website that provides access to the Shipping Wizard to calculate the cubed volume weight of your shipment.  Bulk shipping costs will be calculated based on the higher of the two weights (actual combined shipping weight or calculated volume weight).  To estimate shipping costs, refer to the bulk- rate shipping cost.  Additionally, send an email to DPM-Answerperson@state.gov to notify that you have ordered a bulk shipment and provide the vendor’s name, shipper (tracking number, if available), estimated time of arrival (ETA) of shipment and approximate expected size or weight of the order; and

(3)  Pay for bulk shipments:  Once a bulk shipment arrives at DPM/U, an email notification will be sent to the responsible office at post.  At that point, the responsible office must reply to the email and provide the transportation fiscal data.  After the fiscal data clears the Department’s financial system, the shipment will be sent in the next available pouch.

c.  Other-agency official bulk shipments:  Oversized or bulk shipments of unclassified items for other agencies may be sent via the unclassified pouch at the expense of the originating agency under the following conditions:

(1)  The originator must arrange to deliver the materials to the DPM/U facility (SA-32), 44132 Mercure Circle, Sterling, VA  20166 (located off Route 606, approximately 3 1/2 miles west from Route 28);

(2)  The originator must notify DPM-Answerperson@state.gov in advance of the delivery; and

(3)  Fiscal data must be sent in advance via email to DPM-Answerperson@state.gov to pay for the shipment or to provide fiscal data for the fiscal year.

d.   Personal bulk shipments:  The Department discourages personal bulk shipments by pouch.  Personal bulk shipments cannot be dropped off at SA-32 due to security regulations.  In the event that a personal bulk shipment is delivered to SA-32 via an authorized mode of transport, DPM/U requires the item to fit in a diplomatic pouch and the employee must pay transportation costs and any other fees incurred in advance of shipment.  Items that do not fit in a diplomatic pouch are rejected and returned to sender at the receiving dock unless DPM-Answerperson@state.gov receives advance notification of the shipment.

14 FAM 724  use of the diplomatic pouch

14 FAM 724.1  Official Items in the Pouch

14 FAM 724.1-1  U.S. Government Agencies

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Any office of a U.S. Government agency that participates in International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) may use the diplomatic pouch to send official items from Washington to posts abroad.  For items in diplomatic pouches originating abroad, the sending agency must be a participating ICASS agency that has signed up for pouching services.

14 FAM 724.1-2  Institutional Contractors, Grantees, Fellows, Awardees, and Recipients of Cooperative Agreements

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a. Institutional contractors, such as commercial firms, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions with a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with the U.S. Government, have limited pouch use for mail only when:

(1)  The other agency agrees to reimburse the Department for the cost of transporting the contractor’s mail;

(2)  The other agency agrees to receive, sort, and bundle mail for the final destination, then deliver it to the Department for pouching; and

(3)  The other agency agrees to receive mail of its contractors from the pouch and distribute it.

b. Correspondence from domestic locations to post must be given to the U.S. Government agency for pouch transmission to post.  All correspondence must originate in the U.S. Government agency’s domestic office, must have the correct return address of the U.S. Government agency, and must be addressed to the U.S. Government agency’s office at a post abroad.

NOTE:  For the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), official mail should be addressed as follows:

      Name of Individual or Organization
(followed by C for contractor or G for grant)
Name of Post
Agency for International Development (AID)
Washington, DC  20523

c.  Correspondence from the contractor’s location abroad to the U.S. Government agency’s domestic location must be given to the U.S. Government agency’s office at post for pouch transmission to Washington, DC.  All correspondence must originate from the U.S. Government agency’s office at post abroad, must have the return address of the U.S. Government agency, and must be addressed to the U.S. Government agency’s domestic office, or to any domestic address if appropriate postage is affixed to the item(s).

d. Official mail of institutional contractors is limited to letters and flats with a maximum weight of two (2) pounds.  Agencies may authorize personal letters and flats up to a maximum weight of two (2) pounds.  Institutional contractors are not authorized to receive merchandise, parcels, magazines, or newspapers in the pouch channel.

    NOTE:  For USAID, personal mail of institutional contractors is limited to letters and flats with a maximum weight of one (1) pound.

e. Local-hire contractors are not authorized pouch usage.

14 FAM 724.1-3  Personal Office and Training Materials

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a. U.S. Government employees are authorized to send a one-time shipment of personal office material to their assigned post via diplomatic pouch.  The weight limit per box is 70 pounds not to exceed 6 cubic feet per bulk shipment regulations described in 14 FAM 723.3.  Authorized users of the diplomatic pouch must ensure that all pouch size and weight limitations are met.  The bulk shipment limitations described in 14 FAM 723.3 must not be exceeded.  All items must have a valid official return address or the items will be rejected.

b. U.S. Government employees and locally employed (LE) staff attending training away from their post of record are authorized to send official training materials to their assigned post via pouch.  The weight limit per box is 70 pounds.  Users of the pouch must ensure that all pouch size and weight limitations are met.  Bulk shipment limitations must not be exceeded as outlined in 14 FAM 723.3:

(1)  From training in Washington, DC, employees and LE staff are authorized to send training material through the Internal Mail and Messenger Service (IMMS), with no postage affixed, for forwarding to post.  All items must have a valid Department office return address or the items will be rejected;

(2)  From training at a post abroad or a domestic location with pouch capabilities, employees and LE staff are authorized to send training material to their assigned post via pouch with no postage affixed.  All items must have the correct return address of the training facility, with the student’s name clearly marked; and

(3)  From training at a domestic location without pouch capabilities, employees and LE staff are authorized to send training material via USPS, with postage affixed, to their post’s Washington, DC pouch address (see 14 FAH-4 H-311.4, paragraph c).  All items must have a valid Department office return address.

14 FAM 724.2  Personal Mail in the Pouch

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a. Persons eligible to send or receive personal items through the diplomatic pouch must meet the criteria in 14 FAM 724.2, paragraph b, and 14 FAM 724.2, paragraph c, and be assigned to posts abroad that do not have United States Postal Service (USPS), Military Postal Service (MPS), or Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) support (see 14 FAM 740 for regulations on transmission of personal items).

b. Authorized users:

(1)  Must have duty-free privileges, usually associated with accreditation to the host government as diplomatic agents, administrative and technical staff, or consular staff;

(2)  Must be included in the ICASS Basic Package headcount, and their sponsoring agency must subscribe to ICASS pouching services at post (NOTE:  Although interns are not counted in Basic Package, they are authorized full use of the pouch if their sponsoring agency subscribes to ICASS pouching services at post); and

(3)  Usually under chief-of-mission authority.

c.  Authorized users of the diplomatic pouch include the following individuals and their eligible family members:

(1)  U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen assigned personnel of the U.S. Government (as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.1);

(2)  Interns of the Federal government (as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.8); and

(3)  Offshore U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen personal services contractors (PSCs) whose contract creates an employer/employee relationship with the parent U.S. Government agency (as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.3-1).

      NOTE:  Eligible family members are entitled to pouch privileges only at the post of their sponsor’s assignment.

d. Authorized users must pay domestic postage rates and must address mail as described in 14 FAM 742.2-1, subparagraph b (2).  Mail transmitted in diplomatic pouches is not subject to foreign customs clearance standards.

14 FAM 724.3  Balloting Materials in the Pouch

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All posts must return their voted (completed) absentee ballots via unclassified diplomatic pouch (UCP).  Moreover, posts must accept absentee voting forms from all U.S. citizens, regardless of whether they are employed by the embassy, e.g., all third-party contractors or expatriates, and return their voted ballots bearing proper domestic U.S. postage to their local election officials via UCP.

14 FAM 724.4  Congressional Mail in the Pouch

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a. Congressional mail may only be sent and received through the diplomatic pouch.

b. If congressional mail is enclosed in an official congressional franked envelope, then it requires no postage.  Other congressional communications in unofficial envelopes sent from posts and addressed to an addressee in the United States requires domestic postage at the official rate for the type of service desired from Washington, DC to the addressee.

c. Costs associated with personal mail for visiting Members of Congress are funded, to the extent possible, by the visiting delegation (see 6 FAH-5 H-364).  Fiscal data should be obtained prior to arrival at post.  All items which can be direct charged to the delegation should be charged to the fiscal data provided.

d. The Department forwards parcels for Members of Congress from posts to U.S. Customs in Washington, D.C. and informs the office of the Member so that prompt customs clearance can be arranged.

e. Congressional parcels must be registered and comply with pouch requirements for size and weight limitations.

f.  For pouches containing congressional mail, posts must email the DPM-Answerperson@state.gov with the registry number, pouch invoice number, date of dispatch, routing, and air waybill number.

14 FAM 724.5  Reserved

14 FAM 724.6  Use of Pouch by Individual Non-Personal Services Contractors

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a. For institutional contractors grantees, fellows, and individuals under cooperative agreements, (see 14 FAM 724.1-2).

b. Individual non-personal services contractors (as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.4) are not automatically granted use of the diplomatic pouch for personal mail.  To use the diplomatic pouch, individual nonpersonal services contractors must be hired in the United States to perform official U.S. Government work at a post abroad for a specific period of time, traveling on a diplomatic or official passport, and their contract must specifically include the provision of ICASS services including Basic Package and Pouching Services.  Contact DPM-Answerperson@state.gov for a case-by-case decision.

14 FAM 724.7  Use of Pouch by Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff)

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a. Locally employed staff (LE staff), as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.2, may use the diplomatic pouch to send and receive items relating to official U.S. Government business.

b. LE staff may not use the pouch for personal mail.  However, due to extenuating circumstances, there may be exceptions to this policy for LE staff on extended TDY to a post other than their main post of hire or residence.  Contact DPM-Answerperson@state.gov to request an authorization.

14 FAM 724.8  Use of Pouch by Fulbright Scholars

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a. Fulbright scholars, as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.7, are authorized to make a one-time shipment of educational materials to the American embassy or consulate in the country of assignment.  This shipment must not exceed 6 cubic feet in volume.  Six cubic feet is equal to 10,368 cubic inches and 1 cubic foot is equal to 1,728 cubic inches.  To determine the volume of a box in cubic feet, multiply the width times the length times the depth (all in inches), and divide the sum by 1728.  For example, a box that measures 24” X 24” X 18” has a volume of 6 cubic feet.  If a shipment exceeds 6 cubic feet, the entire bulk shipment will be returned to sender.  The tracking or registry numbers should be included on all parcels (see 14 FAM 723.3 and 14 FAM 723.2).  These materials cannot be sent back to the United States by pouch.  Address these packages to:

      Cultural Affairs Officer
Post-specific street address
Department of State
Washington, DC  20521-xxxx (Post +4 ZIP Code)

The Fulbright scholar’s name must appear in the return address.

b. Fulbright scholars assigned to a country with a Category A, Category B, or Category C post may use the pouch for letter mail up to 2-pounds to and from the United States.  Letters must be addressed as follows:

      Name of Grantee
Post-specific street address
Dulles, VA  20189-xxxx (Post +4 ZIP)

Fulbright scholars must also use this address as the return address on all mail from abroad.

c.  Do not include any mention of the U.S. Embassy, the Department, Fulbright, or any other official title references in addresses using the 20189 ZIP code.  The 20189 ZIP code can only be used for letter mail up to the 2-pound limit and cannot be used for mailing of the one-time shipment of educational materials.

14 FAM 724.9  International Organization Detailees

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U.S. Government employees assigned to international organizations under a formal detail agreement between the employing agency and the international organization are authorized use of the pouch for official mail.  They may or may not be authorized use of the diplomatic pouch for personal mail.  For guidance on establishing ICASS services, see 6 FAH-5 H-352.5.  U.S. Government employees must contact DPM-Answerperson@state.gov via e-mail to inform when such agreements are established.

14 FAM 724.10  Peace Corps

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a. Peace Corps administrative staff members are authorized use of the pouch for personal mail as long as they are included in the ICASS Basic Package headcount and subscribe to ICASS pouching services at post for outgoing mail.  Peace Corps administrative staff who are not included in the ICASS Basic Package headcount are not authorized use of the diplomatic pouch.

b. Peace Corps volunteers (as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.9) are not authorized use of the diplomatic pouch for personal mail.

c.  Peace Corps administrative staff not included in the ICASS headcount and Peace Corps volunteers may receive through the pouch, in emergencies, items vital for health such as prescription medicines and eyeglasses, and legal or financial documents.

14 FAM 724.11  U.S. Government-Sponsored Schools

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a. Schools assisted by the Office of Overseas Schools (A/OPR/OS), as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.10, are authorized to use the diplomatic pouch for official first-class letter mail, e.g., invoices, testing materials, correspondence, etc.  (Include items such as educational pamphlets, periodicals, video cassettes, CDs and transcripts.)  For this purpose, use this address format:

      Management Officer for [name of school]
Post-specific street address
Department of State
Washington, D.C.  20521-xxxx (Post + 4 ZIP)

b. Schools abroad are not authorized to use the diplomatic pouch for shipment of supplies such as books and equipment.  U.S. Despatch Agencies are authorized to provide shipping services on behalf of U.S. Government-sponsored schools abroad.  Books as well as other educational supplies and equipment, will be forwarded to the appropriate consolidated receiving point (CRP) by contract commercial suppliers for onward shipment to post through the U.S. Despatch Agency (DA), (see 14 FAM 315.1).  Post management officers and school representatives must implement these procedures to realize the benefits of timely shipments and reduced costs.

c. For emergency orders that constitute a bulk shipment, post's management officer (or equivalent) must obtain prior approval from A/OPR/OS and A/LM/PMP/DPM before shipping items via diplomatic pouch.

d. Employees of U.S. Government-sponsored schools are not authorized to use the diplomatic pouch for personal mail.

14 FAM 724.12  Use of Pouch by Employee Associations Abroad

(CT:LOG-59;   05-06-2009)

Employee associations (American, locally employed staff, and/or Foreign Service national (FSN) associations) are not authorized use of the diplomatic pouch.  Exceptions are American employee associations at Category B posts that are also 15 percent or greater hardship differential may use the pouch to receive not more than ten videocassettes or DVDs per month for video club rental (but not for resale).

14 FAM 724.13  Use of Pouch by Foreign Students Traveling to the United States for Educational Purposes

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a. The Department of Defense (DoD) military assistance programs involving foreign student travel to the United States for educational purposes is the responsibility of the Defense representative at post.

b. Students should be advised to hand carry course materials when they return.  However, if this is impracticable, foreign students may use the diplomatic pouch only to return course material from the United States to post, where there is no Military Postal Service (MPS) support available at post.  Bulk shipment limitations must not be exceeded.  The Defense representative is responsible for obtaining and providing fiscal data to DPM/U when needed.  Contact DPM-Answerperson@state.gov.

c.  The Defense representative must ensure that the course material is addressed properly (to his or her office), forwarded to the student, and confirm that items for students do not include goods or merchandise within a course material container.

d. The post pouch control officer is authorized to inspect incoming material if necessary.

14 FAM 724.14  U.S. Firms and Private Organizations

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a. Diplomatic pouches transport official items of the U.S. Government.  Overseas entities of U.S. commercial firms and private organizations are not permitted to use the Department’s diplomatic pouch for business or personal mail.

b. In extreme emergencies, the chief-of-mission may authorize U.S. firms, individuals, charitable institutions, and similar organizations to transmit business correspondence through the diplomatic pouch on a temporary basis.  Immediately thereafter, the circumstances must be reported to the Assistant Secretary for Administration.

c.  In nonemergency cases, the chief-of-mission must request advance approval from the Assistant Secretary for Administration on behalf of a U.S. firm or private organization to use the diplomatic pouch.  The request must include full justification for the exception.

14 FAM 724.15  Diplomatic Correspondence of Foreign Governments and International Organizations

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a. Diplomatic pouches transport official items of the U.S. Government.  Foreign governments and international organizations are not permitted to use the Department’s diplomatic pouch.

b. In isolated instances, the chief-of-mission may request authorization to send official correspondence of a foreign government or an international organization by diplomatic pouch if it is clearly in the interest of the U.S. Government. In all cases, transmitting such correspondence must be approved in advance by the Assistant Secretary for Administration.  Requests must include justification for departure from established policy.  Normally, the Department will not approve requests for exceptions when the same commercial services used by the Department are available to the foreign government or international organization.

c.  When the Department authorizes this exception, the correspondence of a foreign government or an international organization must be processed and distributed the same way U.S. Government official correspondence is dispatched.

14 FAM 724.16  Members of Household, U.S. Citizens Living Abroad, and Locally Hired U.S. Citizens

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Members of household (MOH; see 3 FAM 4180) may not use the diplomatic pouch.

b. A U.S. citizen living abroad who is not assigned to post for a tour of duty, is not an eligible family member, does not possess an official or diplomatic passport, or is not on temporary duty status, must not use the diplomatic pouch, except:

(1)  MED may send dietary supplements to post for U.S. citizens incarcerated abroad (see 7 FAM 445.4); and

(2)  Post may ship the personal effects of a deceased U.S. citizen to the next of kin where the effects are under the bulk shipment limitation.  For more than 6 cubic feet of personal effects, a freight forwarding company must be used (see 7 FAM 297.3).

c.  U.S. citizen employees hired locally (as described in 6 FAH-5 H-352.3-2) may not use the diplomatic pouch for personal mail unless that employee is an eligible family member of an authorized pouch user.

d. All of the categories of persons in this section, if U.S. citizens, may use the pouch for balloting materials (see 14 FAM 724.3).

14 FAM 725  transportation of Diplomatic Pouches

14 FAM 725.1  Conveyance of Diplomatic Pouches

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Diplomatic pouches are most often transported by commercial airlines including regularly scheduled passenger flights, chartered flights, U.S. Government aircraft, and special support flights.

b. Diplomatic pouches may also be transported by truck, car, ferry, train, or any other means of conveyance.

c.  Unclassified diplomatic pouches are transported as unaccompanied cargo.  Classified diplomatic pouches are transported as accompanied cargo, escorted by Top Secret-cleared U.S. citizen employees, most often members of the Diplomatic Courier Service (DS/C/DC) of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

14 FAM 725.2  Defense Courier Service (DCS)

(CT:LOG-59;   05-06-2009)

For procedures on using the Defense Courier Service to transport classified material for the Department, see 14 FAH-4 H-260.

14 FAM 725.3  Post Restrictions

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. In certain circumstances, there can be restrictions on the size, weight, number, or physical characteristics of the diplomatic pouch.  At times, these restrictions are set by the host country; for example, where a country does not recognize a crate as a diplomatic pouch.  Moreover, these restrictions are set by the airline servicing the post; for example, where post is serviced by small size aircraft.

b. A complete and current list of post restrictions is listed on the A/LM/PMP/DPM website under the Unclassified Pouch and Classified Pouch tabs.

c.  Post’s pouch control officer (PCO) must notify DPM through email to the DPM-Answerperson@state.gov if new restrictions are imposed or current restrictions are changed or lifted.

14 FAM 726  ABUSE OF DIPLOMATIC POUCH

14 FAM 726.1  Consequences for Abuse of Pouch Privileges

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Abuse of the diplomatic pouch is generally one of three kinds:

(1)  An authorized sender has sent a prohibited item;

(2)  An item has been sent by an unauthorized user; or

(3)  An authorized user has sent an item through an improper channel.

b. Suspected abuse of the diplomatic pouch must be reported to the PCO.  When abuse does occur, the PCO must take immediate action to correct the problem.  Examples of corrective action are listed below; post management must develop, implement, and publish post-specific remedies for pouch abuse:

(1)  For a first offense:  The PCO must provide the offender with a verbal warning, reminding them of diplomatic pouch policies and restrictions, and may result in possible reimbursement of Secondary Destination Transportation (SDT) costs after consulting with, A/LM/PMP/DPM.  The PCO must document all circumstances surrounding the incident, and submit a Postal Offense Report via ILMS-DPM;

(2)  For a second offense:  The PCO must collaborate with the post's management officer (or equivalent) and issue a written notification including a reminder of DPM policies and restrictions, and may result in possible reimbursement of SDT costs after consulting with, A/LM/PMP/DPM.  The PCO must submit a Postal Offense Report via ILMS-DPM and attach a copy of the written notification;

(3)  For a third offense:  The PCO must collaborate with post's management officer (or equivalent) and issue a written notification of a suspension and restriction of DPM privileges for a limited amount of time (determined by post management), and may result in possible reimbursement of SDT costs after consulting with A/LM/PMP/DPM.  The PCO must document all circumstances surrounding the suspension, submit a Postal Offense Report via ILMS-DPM, and attach a copy of the supporting documents; and

(4)  For a fourth offense:  The Director of Diplomatic Pouch and Mail will issue an official written notification to the repeat offender (and copy post’s management officer) of permanent suspension of diplomatic pouch privileges and seek reimbursement of SDT costs for all aforementioned offenses.  The PCO must document all circumstances surrounding the suspension, and submit a Postal Offense Report via ILMS-DPM and attach a copy of all supporting documents.

NOTE:  During suspension and/or removal of pouch privileges, all pouch mail received addressed to the offender will be endorsed “Returned to Sender, Not Authorized DPM Privileges” by the DPM mailroom staff.

NOTE:  The above consequences are not to the exclusion of any counseling, admonishment, formal disciplinary actions, or other employment actions that may result from a failure to comply with the policies as stated in 14 FAM 700, including any abuse of the diplomatic pouch or violation of post-specific criteria for pouch abuse.  All cases of diplomatic pouch abuse are referred to A/LM/PMP/DPM in accordance with the procedures outlined above and may be submitted for review for disciplinary action to the Office of Employee Relations (HR/ER).

c.  PCO's must advise the Director of A/LM/PMP/DPM by email to DPM-Answerperson@state.gov of pouch violations when they occur.  Include the name of the individual, organization, parent organization in Washington, DC, registry numbers, classification, and a detailed description of the item(s).

d. The Director of A/LM/PMP/DPM will assist post management in interpreting rules and regulations and making decisions if requested to do so.  Abuse or misuse of the diplomatic pouch may be investigated further by appropriate law enforcement officials depending on the seriousness of the incident.

e. DPM encourages employees and authorized users to report suspected or known abuse of diplomatic pouch or mail services to the Office of Inspector General (see 1 FAM 053.2 for reporting instructions and provisions for confidentiality when reporting).

14 FAM 726.2  Disciplinary Actions for the Mailing of Dangerous Goods

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. The mailing of dangerous goods via the diplomatic pouch may present serious dangers to aircraft, passengers, and/or cause serious diplomatic concerns with host nations.  The actions herein must be taken by post upon notification by DPM of serious infractions to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR):

(1)  First infraction:  Post provides a letter of notification to the employee, requiring a signed reply acknowledging that the employee understands the policies and that this and/or any future violations of pouch policy may be referred to HR/ER for review for possible discipline.  Refer the employee to 14 FAM Exhibit 723.2; and

(2)  Second Infraction:  Post refers the matter to A/LM/PMP/DPM, which will then submit a request for disciplinary action to HR/ER.

b. IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, Section 9, requires DPM to report to the appropriate authorities of the State when undeclared or misdeclared dangerous goods are discovered in cargo or mail.  Incidents discovered at SA-32 must be reported via a Postal Offense Report in ILMS-DPM.  The PCO must report incidents to the Director of A/LM/PMP/DPM, DoD-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), and will provide a letter of notification to the customer.

14 FAM 727  FUNDING FOR DIPLOMATIC POUCHES

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Other agencies must reimburse the Department either through direct billing or through the ICASS agreement for the cost of processing and/or transporting their material.

b. Washington, D.C. origin unclassified:

(1)  Diplomatic Pouch and Mail (A/LM/PMP/DPM) receives ICASS funding for processing and transportation of unclassified diplomatic pouches from the Department to posts abroad, which includes all materials and manpower for pouching and un-pouching.  Bulk shipments are not funded through A/LM/PMP/DPM’s ICASS budget; and

(2)  The receiving post pays for all local delivery charges and any other local fees for pouches arriving at post.

c.  Washington, D.C. origin classified:

(1)  A/LM/PMP/DPM receives ICASS funding for the cost of processing classified diplomatic pouches from the Department and other agencies to posts abroad, which includes all materials and manpower for pouching and unpouching;

(2)  The Diplomatic Courier Service (DS/C/DC) receives program funds for courier services and transportation of routine Department classified diplomatic pouches measuring 29" x 29" x 29" or 14 cubic feet or smaller.  DS/C/DC charges Department customers for the transportation of non-routine shipments to include deadline delivery date (DDD) material.  Department programs and projects that have ongoing classified shipping requirements are also charged for shipping material via classified pouch.  Department programs for reimbursement purposes include, but are not limited to, programs whose mission is to replace and/or upgrade post.  Department projects for reimbursement purposes are generally temporary and include but are not limited to capital improvements, i.e., Overseas Building Operations (OBO).  DS/C/DC charges other agencies for the transportation of all classified items/pouches; and

(3)  The receiving post pays for all local delivery charges and any other local fees for pouches arriving at post, to include travel between the mission and the airport.

d. Post origin unclassified:  Originating posts fund personnel and pouch transportation costs through post funds (either through ICASS or a direct charge to the agency sending the pouch).  The post also pays extraneous charges (e.g., surcharges, fees, handling charges) for dispatching all outgoing unaccompanied pouches.

e. Post origin classified:  The costs associated with moving material to/from the airport are covered by the originating post, to include locally employed staff and extraneous charges (e.g., surcharges, fees, handling charges, overtime charges).  Transportation charges on airway bills of post origin routine classified pouches are paid by DS/C/DC using the 4-part Form DS-452, Official Courier Accompanied Pouch Charges, that has the Diplomatic Courier Service fiscal strip listed on it.

f.  Bulk shipment:  A bulk shipment is defined as a shipment that exceeds 6 cubic feet in volume, and is destined to one addressee/household.  A single item or crate shipment of 150 pounds or more may require additional coordination and transportation fees depending on the destination.  For questions, contact DPM-Answerperson@state.gov.  The post, office, agency, or individual sending an unclassified bulk shipment from Washington, DC to post must provide funding details for pouch transportation costs in advance of shipment by contacting DPM-Answerperson@state.gov (see 14 FAM 723.3).

g. A/LM/PMP/DPM has authority from 31 U.S.C. 9701, “Fees and Charges for Government Services and Things of Value,” to obtain reimbursement for the transportation costs of unauthorized shipments of material via diplomatic pouch, including unauthorized personal shipments.  PCOs must document each incident, describing circumstances and providing weights to determine the transportation costs between point of origin and destination.

14 FAM 728  RESPONSIBILITY FOR DIPLOMATIC POUCHES

14 FAM 728.1  Pouch Control Officer (PCO)

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. The Director of Diplomatic Pouch and Mail (A/LM/PMP/DPM) is the appointed pouch control officer (PCO) for the Department of State.  Each post or domestic facility that processes diplomatic pouches must appoint a U.S. direct-hire employee, Top Secret-cleared personnel, officially designated in writing, as a local PCO (see 14 FAM-720 Exhibit 723.4, PCO Template).  At post, this is typically the information program officer (IPO), information management officer (IMO), or the general services officer (GSO) in the absence of the IMO or IPO.  The PCO is the key to a well-managed diplomatic pouch program.  To ensure effective oversight, the PCO and alternate must be fully trained in pouch operations.  To perform the duties inherent in this position, the PCO and the alternate must be authorized by the host government to sign import/export diplomatic pouch documentation on behalf of the mission.  Post's management officer (MO) (or equivalent) must ensure that PCO responsibilities are specifically defined in work requirements statements. 

b. The PCO is responsible for:

(1)  Implementing pouch policies and procedures at facilities where diplomatic pouches are processed;

(2) Enforcing the regulations set forth in this chapter and implementing the procedures set forth in 14 FAH-4 relating to the diplomatic pouch;

(3)  Informing all users of the diplomatic pouch policies in this chapter and the procedures in 14 FAH-4 to ensure that pouch abuse does not occur; and

(4)  Monitoring the use of the diplomatic pouch for suspected pouch abuse, and receiving and reporting of suspected pouch abuse from others (see 14 FAM 726 for policy and procedures on reporting pouch abuse).

c.  If the PCO suspects that any material may not qualify for diplomatic pouch service, the PCO is authorized to open and inspect, in the presence of one witness, any item submitted for pouch dispatch.  This inspection specifically includes compliance with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.  Originators who refuse to allow inspection may not dispatch the item in question by either classified or unclassified diplomatic pouch.  Actions to be taken on prohibited items are delineated in 14 FAH-4 H-228.2.

d. Classified pouches must be opened, closed, or inspected only in the classified pouch facility, and only by Top Secret-cleared U.S. employees.  The PCO must appoint the Top Secret-cleared U.S. citizens in writing by name.  Additionally, the PCO must visibly display the authorization list in the classified pouch facility.

e. Unclassified pouches must be opened, closed, or inspected in the unclassified mail facility, only by authorized employees assigned to the mail facility.  The PCO must designate the personnel in writing by name, and visibly display the authorization list in the mail facility.  A cleared U.S. citizen does not need to be present during the opening of unclassified pouches that do not require special handling but must be present during the opening of Unclassified Controlled Air Pouch (UCAP) pouches (see 14 FAH-4 H-252.1).  UCAP pouches must be delivered directly to the classified pouch room upon arrival (see 14 FAH-4 H-212.1-5, paragraph b).

14 FAM 728.2  Department Managers

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Department managers, supervisors, and employees are responsible for ensuring efficient use of the diplomatic pouch based on the policies set forth in this subchapter.

b. Department managers must ensure that all pouch users are aware of the policies in this chapter and procedures in 14 FAH-4 governing the use of the diplomatic pouch by authorized employees and U.S. Government agencies to ensure that pouch abuse does not occur.  When abuse does occur, Department managers must take immediate action to correct the problem.

c.  The Director of A/LM/PMP/DPM will interpret rules and regulations and make decisions if requested to do so.

14 FAM 728.3  Post Management

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Post management must develop, implement, and publish post-specific procedures based on 14 FAM 700 and 14 FAH-4 H-210 to control employee use of the pouch to send and receive personal mail.  The Director of A/LM/PMP/DPM will interpret rules and regulations and make decisions if requested to do so.

b. Post management must develop, implement, and publish post-specific policies based on 14 FAM 700 and 14 FAH-4 H-210 to ensure all authorized pouch users understand pouch limitations and the consequences of abusing pouch privileges.

c.  Post management must develop, implement, and publish post-specific criteria based on 14 FAM 700 and 14 FAH-4 H-210 for what constitutes pouch abuse at post, including and over and above the prohibitions listed in 14 FAM 723.2.  The management notice setting forth the criteria must also list post-specific consequences for pouch abuse.  The Director of A/LM/PMP/DPM will interpret rules and regulations and make decisions upon request.

14 FAM 728.4  Other Agencies

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

Other U.S. Government agencies are responsible for items shipped via the pouch for or by their personnel.

14 FAM 728.5  Diplomatic Couriers and Courier Escorts

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Diplomatic couriers are Foreign Service specialists who are responsible for transporting classified diplomatic pouches between Washington, DC and posts abroad.

b. Classified pouch assistants are local-hire, Top Secret-cleared American citizen employees who are responsible for the following:

(1)  Processing and preparing classified pouches for dispatch;

(2)  Receiving classified pouches and delivering classified pouches to diplomatic couriers;

(3)  Opening and processing classified pouches; and

(4)  Making further arrangements for pick up or delivery of classified contents to an addressee’s designated cleared American citizen employee.

c.  Diplomatic courier escorts are Top Secret-cleared American citizen employees dispatched to assist diplomatic couriers with providing security, or transferring custody of classified diplomatic pouches.  All agencies at post that use the classified pouch share responsibility for providing diplomatic courier escorts.  See 12 FAM 151.1, paragraph a.  For posts that have a classified pouch assistant, courier escort duty is shared among agencies at post that use the classified pouch during the absence of the classified pouch assistant.

d. See 12 FAM 120 for diplomatic courier duties.

14 FAM 729  General PROCEDURES FOR preparing DIPLOMATIC POUCHES

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

a. Detailed procedures for processing classified and unclassified diplomatic pouches for dispatch are described in 14 FAH-4 H-200.  In general, the DPM mailroom personnel must:

(1)  Ensure all individual items show a complete return address.  Items without a valid return address must not be accepted;

(2)  Verify all containers used as diplomatic pouches display the Department, post abroad, or the U.S. Department of State as the addressor and as the addressee on the pouch tag even if the entire contents are for another agency; and

(3)  Double check that every diplomatic pouch dispatched, regardless of content, contain a Form DS-3082, Pouch Invoice listing the registered items in the pouch.  Place a copy of the pouch invoice on top of the items inside the pouch bag, or insert the invoice in the pocket inside the pouch, or place it in an envelope and attach it to the container.

b. Domestic and overseas facilities are required to use the Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS-DPM) module to operate Diplomatic Pouch & Mail around the world. DPM mailroom personnel must use ILMS-DPM to process incoming and outgoing diplomatic pouches.  For additional instructions on how to process incoming and outgoing pouches and mail, see the ILMS Training Tutorials.  For further guidance, please contact DPM-Answerperson@state.gov.


14 FAM Exhibit 723.2  
Items Prohibited for Pouch Dispatch

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

Diplomatic pouches in both the unclassified and classified channels must not contain items that are classified as “dangerous goods” or require any outside container marking or labeling as required in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations.  At the time of ordering, customers are encouraged to ask the vendor if a hazard label is required on the outside of the package for international air shipments.  If a hazard label is required, the parcel cannot go in the diplomatic pouch as it is considered a dangerous good as defined by IATA.  Additionally, pouches may not contain items that are illegal to import into the receiving country or export from the sending country.

Questions regarding potentially prohibited items should be sent to DPM-Answerperson@state.gov for final decision.  Items known as prohibited for dispatch by diplomatic pouch either from the United States to overseas, or from overseas to the United States, or from post to post, include, but are not limited to:

(1)  Agriculture products (e.g., plants, seeds, bulbs, soil, fertilizer, plant food, wood chips, fruits, etc.);

(2)  Alcoholic beverages (e.g., beer, wine, liquor, any liquid containing alcohol);

(3)  Ammunition (e.g., blanks, caps, shells, simulated ammo);

(4)  Animals, endangered species products (e.g., lab samples, insects, etc.);

(5)  Batteries:

(a)  Sealed and unsealed lead acid;

(b)  Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) wet cell batteries (car batteries with electrolytes);

(c)  Lithium batteries that are:

i.      Shipped alone; or

ii.      Not installed in a device; or

iii.     Determined by manufacturer/vendor that a Lithium Battery Handling Label or a Class 9 Dangerous Goods Label is required, or;

iv.     Not packaged in accordance with provisions listed on the A/LM/PMP/DPM website (see 14 FAM Exhibit 723.3 for exceptions to this policy),

(d)  Battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems), and

(e)  Hover boards are prohibited in all personal-property shipments moved by air, e.g. unaccompanied air baggage and household effects shipments shipped by air.  The shipment of battery-powered hover-boards are also prohibited in all other personal-property shipments and storage lots unless the item is marked with an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification (see 14 FAM 611.6, paragraph e);

(6)  Bulk shipments:  The diplomatic pouch should not be used for official unclassified supplies or equipment from a vendor except in very limited circumstances (see 14 FAM 723.1, paragraph b).  See 14 FAM Exhibit 723.3 for exceptions to this policy;

(7)  Charitable donations of goods;

(8)  Compressed gases and aerosols (e.g., hairspray, cylinders containing residual pressure, inhalers for asthma (consult the Office of Medical Services (MED));

(9)  Corrosives (e.g., car batteries with electrolytes);

(10) Currency (cash);

(11) DEA Schedule 1 controlled substances and drugs;

(12) DEA Schedule 2, 3, and 4 controlled substances to be used without a prescription (e.g. OxyContin, Percocet or Valium, which are brand names for certain generic controlled substances).  See 14 FAM Exhibit 723.3 for exceptions to this policy;

(13) Dry ice;

(14) Explosives or inert training devices resembling explosives;

(15) Firearms and objects resembling weapons or dangerous objects (e.g., air rifles, paintball guns, training weapons, weapons and/or gun parts made/fashioned by three-dimensional (3D) printers, etc.);

(16) Flammable liquids (e.g., nail polish and remover, hand sanitizer, lens wipes, medication containing alcohol, perfume, or cologne);

(17) Flammable solids (e.g., fire tablets, safety matches, sterno gel);

(18) Fragile items that are broken and/or improperly packaged so as to have the potential to cause personal injury or damage to pouch contents (see 14 FAM 723.2, paragraph c, for packaging standards);

(19) Gel packs and instant ice packs;

(20) Household Effects (HHE) or Unaccompanied Baggage (UAB) per 14 FAM 742.4-1;

(21) Human remains (e.g., cremains, organs);

(22) Incendiary materials such as road flares, cigarette lighters, self-starting charcoal, magnesium bars, MRE meals with heaters, etc.;

(23) Infectious substances (IATA Category A and B), toxins, contaminated medical equipment, and medical specimens requiring outside markings under IATA regulations;

(24) Items for resale (e.g., Girl Scout cookies, magazines, etc.);

(25) Light bulbs containing hazardous material, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs);

(26) Liquids in excess of 16 oz. in a single parcel in any type of container defined as anything that flows like any viscous substance and can ruin the contents of a pouch (includes lotions, peanut butter, or anything that can liquefy);

(27) Magnetic materials that can damage computer software and other electrical equipment (e.g., speakers);

(28) Noise emitting devices:  Any device that cannot be completely disabled from emitting any noise, signal, or vibration while in transit.  Batteries must be removed or the item must be completely unwound and locked in this position (such as clocks, watches, timers, alarms, radios, toys, etc.);

(29) Oxidizers:  All oxidizing substances and organic peroxides are prohibited;

(30) Perishable goods – items liable to perish, decay or spoil rapidly, such as fresh meat, seafood, fruits, and certain temperature-sensitive medical products (i.e., blood diagnostics, etc.).  In general, items that cannot withstand large temperature changes;

(31) Pressurized containers (e.g., “contents under pressure”);

(32) Private business books, goods, and materials;

(33) Poisons or toxic and infectious substances;

(34) Radioactive substances;

(35) Tires:  Mounted to rims with compressed air.  See 14 FAM Exhibit 723.3 for exceptions to this policy; and

(36) Weapons or items that resemble weapons (e.g., any spring-loaded knife (switchblade), tactical knives, fixed-bladed fighting/hunting knives, firearms or components thereof, sling shots, bows, arrows, BB guns and pellet guns, firearms, throwing stars/spikes, ceremonial swords, plaques with weapons mounted, toys closely resembling weapons, etc.).  NOTE:  Kitchen knives are permitted.


 

14 FAM Exhibit 723.3  
Items Permitted for Pouch Dispatch

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

(1) Batteries:  Alkaline, NiCad, NiMH, and the small flat coin “button” watch-type batteries.  A desktop computer with a motherboard containing a button battery is permitted; lithium ion, lithium polymer or lithium metal batteries tested, installed, and properly packaged by the manufacturer, and determined to not require a Lithium Battery handling label or a Class 9 Dangerous Goods label, will be accepted for transport via the unclassified pouch.  NOTE:  Lithium batteries may not exceed size, power and/or quantity thresholds listed on the A/LM/PMP/DPM website.

(2) Bulk shipments:  Bulk shipments are permitted in the pouch when transportation is funded by the customer (personal or official).  Funding details for official shipments must be provided to DPM-Answerperson@state.gov in advance to pay pouch transportation costs or for personal shipments, credit card information must be provided to the freight forwarder prior to shipment.  See 14 FAM 723.3.

(3) DEA Schedule 2, 3, and 4 controlled substances:  Schedule 2, 3 and 4 controlled substances can be shipped but must be in their original, labeled bottle indicating the name of the patient and the prescriber’s name and contact information.

(4) Tires:  All automotive tires (single or multiple) are considered bulk shipments and require funding to ship via unclassified pouch:

(a)  Official:  Tires can be shipped directly from vendor to appropriate U.S. Despatch Agency.  Official shipments cannot be shipped via the DPO, and

(b)  Personal:  Tires should be shipped in household effects (HHE) if possible.  Tires can be shipped via DPO depending on size and location restrictions.  Questions may be directed to DPO-Answerperson_MB@state.gov.

14 FAM Exhibit 728.1  
Pouch Control Officer Template

(CT:LOG-271;   06-12-2019)

Title: Department of State Seal - Description: Blue Department of State Seal                                      Title: Embassy/Consulate Letterhead - Description: Embassy/Consulate of the United States of America City, Country

DATE:                Month XX, 20XX

TO:                   The Record

FROM:               MGT – Full Legal Name

SUBJECT:           Pouch Control Officer

 

 

 

The following individual is appointed as the Pouch Control Officer (PCO) for U.S. Embassy/Consulate  __________ as outlined in 14 FAM 728.

 

Full Legal Name, Official Title

 

The Pouch Control Officer is responsible for:

 

(1)  Enforcing the regulations set forth in this chapter and implementing the procedures set forth in 14 FAH-4 relating to the diplomatic pouch;

(2)  Informing all diplomatic pouch users of the policies in this chapter and the procedures in 14 FAH-4 to ensure that pouch abuse does not occur;

(3)  Monitoring use of the diplomatic pouch for suspected pouch abuse, and receiving and acting on reports of suspected pouch abuse from others (see 14 FAM 726 for policy and procedures on reporting pouch abuse);

(4)  If the PCO suspects that any material may not qualify for diplomatic pouch service, the PCO is authorized to open and inspect, in the presence of one witness, any item submitted for pouch dispatch.  This inspection specifically includes compliance with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.  Originators who refuse to allow inspection may not dispatch the item in question by either classified or unclassified diplomatic pouch.  Actions to be taken on prohibited items are delineated in 14 FAH-4 H-228.2;

(5)  Classified pouches must be opened, closed, or inspected only in the classified pouch facility and only by Top Secret-cleared U.S. citizens.  The PCO or appropriate authority must appoint the Top Secret-cleared U.S. citizens in writing by name; the authorization list must be visibly posted in the classified pouch facility;

(6)  Unclassified Controlled Air Pouch (UCAP) pouches must be delivered to the classified pouch room upon arrival and opened by Top Secret-cleared U.S. citizen employees (see 14 FAH-4 H-212.1-5, paragraph b);

(7)  Unclassified pouches must be opened, closed, or inspected in the unclassified mail facility only by authorized personnel assigned to the mail facility.  The PCO must designate the personnel in writing by name; the authorization list must be visibly posted in the mail facility.  A cleared U.S. citizen does not need to be present during the opening/closing of unclassified pouches that do not require special handling;

(8)  Enforcing the policies set forth in this subchapter and in 14 FAM 740 and implementing the procedures set forth in 14 FAH-4 relating to the processing of official mail, internal correspondence, personal mail and commercial courier deliveries;

(9)  Ensuring that personal mail for departing employees is forwarded according to guidelines listed in 14 FAH-4 H-255.4;

(10) Informing all users of the mail room of the policies in this subchapter and in 14 FAM 740 and the procedures in 14 FAH-4 Pouch and Mail Handbook to ensure that abuse of the Department’s mail and messenger services does not occur;

(11) Monitoring the use of mail and messenger facilities for suspected abuse, and receiving and acting on reports of suspected abuse from others (see 14 FAM 734 for policy and procedures on reporting abuse);

(12) Ensuring compliance with GSA’s Mail Center Security Guide and the Department’s safety regulations promulgated by OBO/OPS/SHEM;

(13) Monitoring the use of official postage meters and franking machines for local official mailings, financed from official funds;

(14) Conducting quarterly unannounced audits of mail room local postage and local mail meter accounts; and

(15) Ensuring that all ILMS records for DPM and MMS, to include the Customer Directory, are up to date and accurate.

 

COMPLETED BY IMO FOR POUCH CONTROL OFFICER DESIGNATION

 

I (Full Legal Name) certify that the nominated pouch control officer meets all requirements listed in references 14 FAM 728 and there are no existing circumstances that prevent this nominee from being appointed.  If after the above individual is designated as the pouch control officer any event occurs to which this individual no longer meets the requirements listed above I will promptly notify the Management Officer to recommend termination of the individual's designation and nominate additional personnel to the duties.

 

 

______________________________

IMO Signature/Date

UNCLASSIFIED (U)