Rules and/or conventions used
The texts of telegrams listed here originate from various stages in the processes of composing, transmitting, receiving, and distributing messages, and it is not immediately clear how they should be named and distinguished. In the strictest sense the word telegram refers to a message sent as an electronic signal along a cable, or to a series of such transmissions, and not to a physical object. But the word is, of course, commonly used to refer to any document containing the text of a telegraphic message, most familiarly those in the form of ticker-tape pasted to a printed form. There is, however, only one example of this kind of document among those listed here. The others comprise rough drafts, fair copies used by the telegraph operators, handwritten copies taken down by receiving clerks, fair copies typed up from these, as well as various other handwritten transcripts and mechanical copies. In order to distinguish between these different kinds of document the following scheme has been adopted.
On the transmission side the term 'telegram' is used without qualification to refer to documents actually used by the telegraph clerk for transmission, i.e. those which are marked by the clerk or some other person with the word 'sent' and the date of transmission. These vary in form from rough handwritten notes to typed fair-copies. The word 'draft' denotes a draft of a telegram which was revised before transmission or a draft of a telegram which was not sent.
On the reception side the term 'telegram', without qualification, refers to one of the typed fair-copies which it appears to have been the practice to make soon after the receipt of the message, probably directly from a handwritten version taken down by the receiving clerk. In one case, however (A2/1/13), the name has been given to what appears to be the clerk's original note.
Texts of telegraphic communications which do not fall into these categories are described as copies. Many of these are explicitly headed 'copy of a telegram'. Occasionally, printed copies of telegrams between the Secretary of State and the Viceroy were made for circulation among a select body of people, such as the Cabinet or a Cabinet Committee, and these have been identified accordingly. It appears to have been usual in such cases to issue a series of telegrams in the form of a small booklet, but no complete example survives, and each of the documents referred to as a 'printed copy' is a page or cutting from a larger document.