Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF U.N. CHARTER
The occasion being observed today marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Charter of the United Nations Organization. At the same time also, the current year, 1965, has been designated as International Co-operation Year and is being observed as such in accordance with the suggestions made by the late Prime Minister Nehru of India for “laying more emphasis on the spirit of good co-operation and understanding existing between governments of countries whose relations are often known in terms of international problems, conflicts and misunderstandings.”
As a founding member of the United Nations Organization twenty years ago today, Ethiopia has been carrying out satisfactorily her obligations for strengthening the constitutional set up of the world body over the years. As a member of the various agencies of the world organization, in the discharge of her duties she has been also availing herself of the services rendered by the international body.
Today, the peoples of the world are about to succeed in overcoming the barriers of time and space by living as members of a closely linked family of nations as a result of the advances made by modern science and technology. It can be said, therefore, that the world has now reached the stage where matters affecting every individual country concern members of the entire international community.
How best then could a world more united, peoples more intimately linked, attain the noble goal of further strengthening the spirit of international co-operation, establishing an atmosphere of mutual understanding and comprehension, and of making an effort for creating a world of supreme peace and happiness? The answer to this fundamental question must be provided by the United Nations Organization which is now observing the twentieth anniversary of its founding. On the occasion of this 20th anniversary observance, it is indeed timely to contemplate what this organization is, what are its potentialities and on the assessment of its achievements during the past twenty years to project what it should be—this organization in which mankind has reposed its faith as a useful instrument for exploring ways of settling disputes and conflicts between states and governments and for the maintenance of international peace and security, making suggestions on how best to improve it still further.
The Charter of the United Nations Organization embodies the fundamental hopes and aspirations of mankind, of safeguarding human rights, maintaining world peace, raising global standards of living, and for advancing educational standards without making any distinction of race, sex, language and religion. And these hopes and aspirations of mankind can only be of value when we ourselves are dedicated to pursue the goal set by showing abiding respect for the provisions of the Charter and by working for their ultimate realization. Unflinching dedication to the Charter is essential if world peace is to be strengthened and fundamental human rights are to be adequately safeguarded. In word and in deed, we must exemplify a resolute spirit to defend international morality when threatened and if necessary to suffer and die for truth and justice so that this international morality will be reinforced and strengthened. As We said on various occasions in the past, the responsibility for safeguarding world peace is not limited to the Great Powers. Peace and war affect not only the Big Powers but all mankind and are therefore the concern of all the peoples of the world.
Co-operation and understanding are basic to the maintenance of world peace; therefore it is the duty of the international community to endeavour so that this spirit be strengthened and made universal among all nations who hold the responsibility of safeguarding world peace.
The peoples of the world draw new moral strength and hope from considering what the United Nations can do in achieving the objectives referred to above. Because of the existence of the U. N. disputes arising between two states wherein the interest of one of them is trampled upon by the other become eventually a matter of international public opinion which could influence the justice of the cause. The organization also has the power and influence to give international conflicts the opportunity of affording a period for the reduction of the temper of such conflicts and to mitigate the forces of evil before they reach a point of explosion that can destroy mankind.
To Find Solutions
The activities of the United Nations Organization can raise the living standards of people throughout the world. However, how could it be possible for this great task to be accomplished satisfactorily when some states do not implement the decisions of the Organization? How could that last hope of mankind achieve its noble objective when some states are pursuing their own selfish ends of defying the authority of the international organization? Does it not mean that, if the solutions to the problems facing the world are not found by the Organization, and if these, when found, are not accepted by all member states, the international body is growing weaker and weaker? We feel that the U. N. in its efforts to provide a body of international law and to secure its respect has fallen short of expectation.
What course of action should the small nations pursue vis a vis the prevailing constitutional framework of the United Nations Organization and the existing international situation? Small nations ought to refrain from making themselves tools for igniting friction between the Great Powers. Receiving development aid and other forms of foreign assistance should not be conditioned by obligations to take sides. In order to achieve this goal, they must not only adhere to a policy of political non-alignment but they should also oppose and proscribe consistently all small conflicts brought about, and to be brought about, by the prevailing international cold war. At a time when We are striving hard to halt the armaments race, We are convinced that a nuclear war would devastate the whole world. However, we must work together for the ending of the little wars which are consuming the energies of the small nations and decimating our people.
The untenable doctrine of racial supremacy, being a threat to the maintenance of international peace and security as well as a serious setback for establishing a salubrious atmosphere of understanding and co-operation in the world, we must work together against the philosophy of racism.
Has U. N. the Authority?
Has the United Nations Organization the authority for achieving these ends? Is the Organization showing a zealous spirit to pursue these ends consistently? If it has not authority for doing these things, are we ready and willing to vest it with enough power for the organization to carry out its task satisfactorily? If we are to survive the Organization has also got to survive. If it has to survive, it should be strengthened. And, to strengthen its structure, the Organization must get the requisite authority. The weak must not be mauled or molested by the strong. All states fulfilling conditions entitling them to membership should be admitted to the Organization. Because peace cannot reign in an atmosphere reeking with poverty and hunger, We should explore and strengthen the means of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and enlightening the illiterate.
Today the Great Powers should also wake up to the realization of the fact that the key to their destiny and future happiness does not lie in their own hands alone. There is no peace without co-operation. Be it known that the principles enshrined in the Charter and the resolutions adopted by the Organization are not there only for the small nations to respect and to implement. In efforts being made to ease the gravity of world problems, the small nations should have a say. Their voices should be heard. An atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence cannot be established when the rights of small nations are not accorded the same respect as those of the Big Powers. In order to accomplish these tasks, it is essential to rouse the conscience of mankind. Anyway, strength and mutual trust are two indispensable qualities for achieving the common goal. Even if there is strength, the common ground of mutual confidence must be established. To establish this, we must work diligently. Once we are able to do what is humanly possible, the rest could be left to the Almighty God. So that man whom He has created in his own image may not be destroyed, let us repose our faith in God.
June 27, 1965.
Support this project here.
Electronic edition created and published online by members of the
April 12, 2017