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Birth related phone calls and telegrams COULD be sent in 1961 from Kenya to Hawaii

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  • Birth related phone calls and telegrams COULD be sent in 1961 from Kenya to Hawaii

    One or more phone calls or telegrams providing details concerning the birth of Barack Obama at the Coast Province General Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya could easily have been sent by Ann Dunham Obama, in Kenya, to her mother Madelyn Dunham, in Hawaii, in August 1961

    The information regarding the exact date and time of BHO-II's birth in Mombasa could thus have been promptly relayed by Ann to her mother back in Honolulu. This information could, in turn, have been supplied by her mother to the Department of Health in Honolulu for consideration and perhaps use in preparing a Hawaiian birth certificate for him.

    The following information is an excerpt of material provided by Lucas Daniel Smith in his 10/22/2011 post: 'Stanley Ann Dunham goes to Kenya'.

    How would Stanley Ann Dunham make telephone calls from Kenya, to the U.S.A., in 1961?

    Well, increased use was made of the telephone in 1961, compared with the previous year and among exchanges converted to automatic working in East Africa during 1961 was one at Shanzu, on the Kenya Coast. Shanzu is located in the Mombasa District. Shanzu is approximately 11.5 miles from central Mombasa.

    International telephone service traffic continued to grow in 1961 and nearly 10,000 calls were made from East Africa that year. The service was extended to the West Indies and Ruanda Urundi and was improved by the opening of direct links to Pakistan and Malaya.

    Also available in Kenya at the time was radiocall service which enabled subscribers who lived or worked in remote areas not serviced by telephone lines to communicate by means of high frequency radio with control stations which could extend calls to telephone subscribers anywhere is East Africa and also undertake the reception and transmission of telegrams.

    How would Stanley Ann Dunham make send telegrams from Kenya, to the U.S.A., in 1961?

    Approximately 622, 300 foreign telegrams were handled during that year in East Africa.

    Also, the previous year (1960), the International Telex service had extended externally to the Western Union System of the U.S.A., Ruanda Urundi, Brazil, India, the Commercial Company System of the U.S.A., Iran, Argentina, Canada and Finland. Telex service was a fully automatic teleprinter switching system, which enabled subscribers to call each other at any time of day or night and to communicate in print. Calls could be made to telex subscribers in other countries. A total of 3,625 international, and 1,862 locals calls, were made using the International Telex service in Kenya for the year 1961.

    Data and statistics cited throughout and within this particular blog report were given to me on good authority from Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.


    Some have claimed IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EITHER TECHNICALLY IMPOSSIBLE OR PROHIBITIVELY EXPENSIVE for Ann Dunham Obama to have sent a telegram regarding the birth details on her new son, BHO-II, from Kenya back to her mother in Honolulu in August 1961.

    Regarding the expense of her sending a telegram:

    Money never seemed to be a problem for the Obama’s. For example, BHO-II was able to attend some of the best and most expensive schools in the U.S.A. – including Punahou High School, Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard University.

    Regarding the telecommunications infrastructure present in Kenya in 1961, consider the following:

    Frank Sinatra, Airline Flight, Telegram, Kenya/USA, 1952

    Note that the year referenced is 1952, nine years prior to the birth of Obama in Mombasa, and that it only required 36 hours for Sinatra to fly from Kenya back to Hollywood, California.

    Click on the following link to view a screen shot image:

    ‘Donald’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music’

    'All or Nothing at All– A Life of Frank Sinatra
    Chapter 5, Maggio, Oscar and Nelson’


    Sinatra’s last recording date at Columbia Records (no connection with Columbia Pictures) was in September 1952; he was over $100,000 in debt for taxes, and somebody joked that the government would either put him in jail or recognize him as a foreign power. Columbia Records may have lent him the money to pay his taxes, because when he left there he was over $100,000 in debt to them. At the beginning of November, his career at rock bottom, he flew with Ava to Kenya, where shooting for Mogambo was to begin. They celebrated their first wedding anniversary on the Stratocruiser; he gave her a flashy diamond ring, and sent her the bill. (Later she cracked, ‘It was quite an occasion for me. I had been married twice but never for a whole year.’)

    The film set, in the Kenyan bush, was hot and dusty, and Ava did not get along at first with director John Ford. When the British governor of Kenya and his wife visited the set, Ford asked Ava what she saw in her ‘one-hundred-and-twenty-pound runt’ of a husband, and she replied, ‘Well, there’s only ten pounds of Frank but there’s one hundred and ten pounds of cock.’ Ford was aghast, but the governor and his wife roared with laughter, and that was the beginning of Ford’s respect for Ava, reinforced by her professionalism as an actress. But she did not feel well (it turned out she was pregnant), and Sinatra was bored and restless.

    Sinatra went back to New York for a club date. His reviews were good, but a reporter who talked to him found him ‘a restless unhappy man in his middle thirties who wants very much to re-establish himself and who wants to be an actor, not just a singer playing himself.’ Back in Africa he finally received a telegram offering him a screen test for the part of Maggio. He jumped on the first plane to Hollywood (Ava paid for all the plane rides, too) and Adler was astonished to see him 36 hours after sending the telegram. When the test was arranged, Adler handed him a script, but he had read the part so many times he didn’t need it. It was the last test of the day and Adler wasn’t going to bother to attend, but then he got a call from the director, Fred Zinneman: ‘You’d better come down here. You’ll see something unbelievable.’ Zinneman had already filmed the test, and made Sinatra do another take without any film in the camera; this time even Adler was impressed. But Cohn was out of town, and anyway they were also testing Eli Wallach, a first-rate Broadway actor who had never made a film. Sinatra flew to Africa yet again, knowing the he’d done a good test but worried that he’d lose the part to Wallach, and Ava and Clark Gable did their best to cheer him up.

    (bold, color and underline emphasis added in the above three paragraphs)
    Last edited by bsteadman; 12-19-2012, 04:20 PM.
    B. Steadman

  • #2
    Thank you immensely, Bruce! That was some spectacular gumshoe detective work regarding Kenya and Frank Sinatra, travel to and from Kenya, telegrams from Kenya, telephone calls to and from Kenya, and the comparison with Ann Dunham! I plan on talking about you and your detective work! Stay tuned to the WOBIK blog!


    • #3
      The following information is an excerpt of material provided by Lucas Daniel Smith in his 2/26/2013 post: 'Intercontinental telegraph service in Mombasa when Stanley Ann Dunham was a baby':

      Note: High quality images of the two referenced 1943 telegrams are shown in the post.

      Stanley Ann Dunham was born on November 29th, 1942. A few months later ... telegrams (which I now own and have in my personal possession) were transmitted from Pinxton, England to Mombasa and dated as being received on March 8, 1943 and May 6th, 1943:

      Conclusion: Intercontinental telegraph (telegram) and telephone service was available in Mombasa in 1961. After Stanley Ann Dunham’s son was born (1961) in Mombasa she would have been able to send a telegram to, or place a telephone call to, family in Hawaii informing them of the birth of Barack Hussein Obama II.
      Last edited by InspectorSmith; 02-27-2013, 04:16 AM. Reason: intercontinental
      B. Steadman