Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
DOMESTIC REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
We are very happy that by the Grace of God, we are again amongst our people, after having spent one and a half months visiting India, Burma, and Japan, at the kind invitation of the Presidents of India and of Burma and His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
In the same way as when two years ago we returned from our visit to North America and to Europe, we spoke to you about some of the important things that we had found to be useful to our country, so today we wish to tell you of our impressions and of the useful things that we have seen in the three countries we visited during our tour of Asia and the Far East. It is hardly necessary to emphasize that what we saw in these countries is of great importance and relevance to the programme of modernization and development which we have initiated in our own country.
We realize, of course, that it is difficult for you to gain the same kind of understanding and appreciation which we have gained through first-hand knowledge, since hearing is not the same as seeing. But nonetheless, we want to tell you about the hospitality and the warm welcome that was accorded to us on the part of the governments and peoples of India, Burma and Japan, so that you may experience that same impression that we have gained during our visit to these three friendly countries.
The manifestations of friendship and high regard which were shown to us in these countries were meant not only for Ourselves but also for the entire people of Ethiopia. Moreover, our visit to these countries constitutes the accomplishment of a long-standing desire on our part to make Ethiopia better known and appreciated by the outside world, and at the same time to help Ethiopia to know and appreciate the rest of the world.
During Our stay in India, we were able to visit, amongst other things, an aircraft factory, locomotive, automobile and telephone factories, an atomic laboratory, a military academy, agricultural and forestry organizations and projects, great dams and hydro-electric and irrigation schemes, as well as a number of universities and technical institutions. Moreover, we were able to visit the wonderful and world-famous Taj Mahal, as well as the historic city of Benares, the birth place of Buddhism. We also visited the ancient Orthodox Church of Southern India, founded under the inspiration of the Apostle Saint Thomas. In all the industries and factories that we visited, including many which required the application of technical knowledge of the highest order, the work is done by Indian nationals. This is indeed an extraordinary example of the success of their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.
Since the social and economic problems that face India and Ethiopia are very much alike, there is much of value that we can derive from the experience that India gained in her effort to tackle and overcome these problems. The effort that is being made in India with a view to facing and overcoming these problems is of great significance to the programme of development and reconstruction that we have planned and are putting into effect in our own country for the prosperity and well-being of our people. It is not enough to talk about ideas and plans. The important thing is to translate these into effective actions. May God Almighty sustain and guide us in the accomplishment of this great task, so that our people may gain ever greater opportunities and benefits from the application of the development of technical progress.
While we were in the Indian capital city of Delhi, we availed ourselves of the opportunity for a friendly exchange of views with Indian leaders on matters touching upon relations between our two countries, as well as on international relations generally. Our talks with Prime Minister Nehru were characterized by a spirit of cordial understanding. We had occasion to express once again our common belief in peaceful negotiation as a means to settle international differences. We affirmed our adherence to the principles of non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, respect for national sovereignty and integrity and peaceful co-existence. These are the very principles for which we have sacrificed much during Our lifetime. We have re-affirmed our belief in these principles and we have agreed to make them the basis for greater understanding and closer co-operation in the future.
In order to strengthen and extend the trade and economic relations which have existed for so long between India and our country, we have agreed to complete a trade agreement, the details of which are at the moment being studied by our two governments. An Indian Mission will be coming to Addis Ababa to negotiate the said trade agreement.
Even though we had to shorten Our stay in Japan, on account of the grave international situation obtaining at that time, our visit to Japan at the kind invitation of His Majesty Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese government enabled us to see many of Japan’s important industries, including automobile and textile factories, and an automatic telephone equipment factory. We also visited many ancient Japanese historic places and shrines.
In spite of the great damage that the war brought on Japan’s economy, Japan has made a very impressive recovery and great progress in the short post-war period. Realizing the mutual benefit that could be gained from greater trade and economic relations with a country whose economy is complementary to Our own, we have agreed to complete a Treaty of Friendship and Commerce with Japan.
We have always had great admiration for Japan and for the achievement of the Japanese people in preserving their traditions, and while acquiring the best of the new, successfully reconciling it with the best of the old. During our visit to that friendly country we were impressed by the enthusiasm and hard work the Japanese people are giving to achieve their progress. At the same line Our admiration and high regard for the Japanese people was greatly increased by Our experience of their courteous manners and great kindness.
Convinced of the necessity to establish and develop industries in our own country, we have already made a beginning in setting up technical schools and institutions to speed up the realization of these plans. It is Our constant desire that Our people should be intellectually and technically advanced as well as being safeguarded from the dangers of unemployment.
In the short period of time that We spent in Burma, We visited pharmaceutical and textile factories, several educational institutions and the well-known Shwedagon Pagoda erected in memory of Buddha and other places of historic interest. We also were able to witness the Burmese government’s efforts to overcome the economic and social difficulties of the country. There is no doubt that the efforts of the Burmese people will result in the successful achievement of a bright and prosperous future.
The countries We visited in the course of Our tours are economically, historically and in many other respects similar to our own. They resemble us also, in their keen effort to develop their natural resources for the greater benefit of their people. We find that the methods which they employ to overcome their social and economic problems, are useful and relevant to our national development programmes, since we have to face similar problems.
Our country is in no way inferior to most other countries so far as its territorial and natural resources are concerned. It is well known that if a people has the firm determination to work, it can overcome any and all its difficulties and problems. We have no problem which is insurmountable. Let us work in unity and diligence. What makes a people great and testifies to its greatness is its aspirations for the well-being of its country, and the practical achievement of these same aspirations for its own benefit and for that of future generations. Unity gives strength and assures success.
In all the countries We have visited, we have noted that education is the basis for the greatness, the power, the pride and prosperity of a nation. This impression, together with the satisfaction that we have had from the students of our own educational institutions, whom We consider the principal instruments for the progress and well-being of Ethiopia, renews and strengthens Our belief in education. If, therefore, education is the factor of everlasting significance in the greatness of a nation, it becomes the duty of every Ethiopian to strive for education and progress. What we have seen wherever we went has convinced us that education is as vital as life itself.
The foreign technicians and specialists are only employed to provide us with temporary assistance and training. It is the duty of everyone to strive for self-sufficiency by acquiring knowledge and experience. To live always in dependence upon the assistance of others not only prevents a people from attaining its ideal, but also deprives life of its true significance and achievement.
We have seen again during Our visit that God has not been partial in His divine creation. The difference of colour is a notion which has no significance and the futility of asserting a difference has now become obvious. The way in which Ethiopian youth has assimilated the knowledge of modern art and science, and the high academic achievements of the young men and women we have sent for higher education abroad, justifies our efforts and expectations. Our whole history testifies to the heroic deeds of our gallant people.
The fact that we have sown on fertile ground strengthens Our hope that We shall realize the plans We have prepared in order to achieve Our high ideals. After all, Ethiopia is second to none in her agricultural tradition. We are proud to say that Our plans and achievements compare favourably with those of others. If We have been able to accomplish what We had in mind to do, it is because the love and prayers of Our people have always sustained Us.
In conclusion, We would leave with you the thought that Ethiopia belongs equally to each and every Ethiopian, and We rely on you all, young and old alike, to play your proper constructive part in the great common task of fructifying in Ethiopia the results of our visits abroad. Nor will you fail in furthering the success of the programme of modernization and development that We have outlined for Our beloved country.
The thing that harms a nation most and cripples its strength is lack of enthusiasm and zeal to strive through education to raise itself to the level that other nations have attained. There is nothing We desire more than to see the full development of the natural resources of Our Empire and the raising of the standard of living of Our people. May the Almighty and everlasting God continue to protect Our people and bless Our efforts, so that in His good time We may see the fruits of Our endeavours.
December 10, 1956.
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December 28, 2016