Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
SILVER JUBILEE: GUENET MILITARY TRAINING CENTRE
This Silver Jubilee Anniversary of the founding by Us, of the Guenet Military Training Centre is evocative of a long and decisive period, a culminating era of Ethiopian history.
It has fallen to few countries of this world to struggle, alone, unaided but successfully, for the preservation of their independence. To still fewer has it been the good fortune which has been vouchsafed to Us by the Almighty Protector, to have been able to defend that independence over so long a span of history.
Many and severe have been the waves of attack which have beaten against the fastnesses of Our beloved homeland. Numerous have been the occasions when the way of compromise offered its tempting vistas. Yet, throughout her three thousand years of independence, Ethiopia has always sought to defend herself alone but for the transcendent aid and courage inspired by a devout faith in the Almighty. In her national defence, as in her national life, as it is recorded in Holy Writ: “Ethiopia stretches out her hands unto God.”
The military chronicles of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, the victories of Dogali and of Adowa in the 19th and the ever-memorable defence entered upon under Our leadership but a few months following the establishment of the Guenet Military Training Centre, as indeed the founding of that institution itself, all testify with eloquence to the traditional determination of Ethiopia to defend herself by her own means, without compromise and without quarter.
Founded on Eve of Italo-Ethiopian War
Thus by founding of that Military Training Centre on the eve of the most momentous struggle in her history, Ethiopia demonstrated to the world her unshakable confidence in victory through the courage and military virtues of her people. This resolve has never vacillated under Our Reign. While engaging military experts from abroad, while purchasing arms within the limits of her capacity, Ethiopia has never compromised her independence however pressing the exigencies of the hour.
We recall with gratitude the services of the Swedish Military Officers who made the initial and expertly successful contribution towards the functioning of the Military Training Centre and whose successors are today continuing their collaboration in the building of a strong and modern national army. Belgian military tradition and science have also made their valued contribution towards the resilient Imperial Body Guard.
In addition to the invaluable assistance of the British during the liberation of Ethiopia at a time when Ethiopia lay vulnerable and exhausted from the struggle of national liberation, the British Military Mission made a powerful and never-to-be forgotten contribution towards the rebuilding of a modern Army and in these very walls resumed the instruction and the academic traditions suspended in the hours of bitter conflict. If today, Ethiopia stands to the forefront among the military forces in Africa and the Middle East, it is due to this vital military tradition, to the strong sense of discipline inculcated over the years within this Training Centre by devoted officers from abroad and today to the generous support in arms, equipment and instructors furnished by the United States of America.
Welcome Helpers, Guests
On this memorable occasion, We, therefore, particularly welcome the representatives of those States who have played a significant role in the history of this Training Centre. At the same time, We are gratified to note the presence of the distinguished representatives of Our sister States in Africa, here to testify to the solidarity and common determination of all African States to defend together the cause of freedom in Africa.
Your struggles, like those of Ethiopia, stand as an inspiration to our brothers who are still striving towards the goal of independence. The facts of history stand to confirm to them the importance and efficacy of self-help and courage in the struggle for freedom. It is the duty of those States who have already gained their independence, to collaborate in all fields and ways, to strengthen and broaden the bases and armatures of the free and independent politics of Africa, and promptly to come to the defence of those nations yet to be born when, in the difficult first hours after birth, their freedom could be threatened or indeed, stifled. It is in this larger context that this and all other national institutions of African States must be constantly viewed.
African Unity, Cornerstone
Unity should be the cornerstone of relations among African States for it would ensure confidence and co-operation. Disunity, on the other hand, while dissipating their strength, always ends in regrettable results. For this reason, We are making arrangements to grant scholarships to Our African brothers to study in Our military institutions.
In but a few weeks, the Independent African States will convene in Our Capital to explore the means and avenues for advancing this high cause of the freedom, independence and progress of the African peoples. It is Our conviction that the Guenet Military Training Centre has already, during the last quarter of a Century, well served this noble objective. May a yet broader and more fructifying mission be reserved, in the coming years, to this institution which has so well earned the lasting gratitude of Our beioved people.
Mutual confidence and collaboration should exist among the African Nations. As disunity always brings regrettable results, it is with this object in view that We are granting scholarships in Our military institutions to Our African brothers.
In conclusion we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the delegations from friendly countries who have come to join in the celebration of this Silver Jubilee of this Military Training Centre for the Souvenirs given by them as well as to our military units and civil administration, which certainly express the thoughtfulness for the welfare of this institution.
April 29, 1960.
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December 7, 2016