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Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I



ADDRESS TO THE NATION ON HIS TOUR


.... Of the countries which We visited during Our recent trip, there are some whose economic and political systems are different from ours. We believe that these are made to serve the particular needs of each country and are matters of domestic concern to each nation, and for this reason We do not believe that such differences in political and economic systems should stand as a hindrance to the understanding, collaboration and co-operation among nations on important matters that are of common concern....


In the belief that it will help create understanding and co-operation in the world, and out of particular consideration for the welfare and well-being of Our beloved people and country, We have, from time to time during the past five years, journeyed to visit friendly countries in the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe and the Far East.

After successfully completing Our recent long journey on invitations extended to Us from among friendly countries, namely the U.A.R., the U.S.S.R., Czechoslovakia, Belgium, France, Portugal and Yugoslavia, We are now happy and thankful to Almighty God to find Ourself in the midst of Our beloved people.

On Our return from Our previous journeys, We had made known to you the impressions left with Us by the reception extended to Us in the countries which we then visited. Because We believe that the very admirable reception and sincere expression of friendship extended to Us by the peoples and leaders of the countries that We visited recently were also directed to you, We desire to share with you the sentiments of these visits. We shall presently make known Our tasks regarding Our future programme for the socio-eco­nomic development of Our country.

Our first stop in Our long journey was the U.A.R. As We had accepted the invitation of H.E. President Gamal Abdel Nasser to visit the U.A.R., We stayed in that neighbouring country from the 24th to the 29th of June. During Our stay in the U.A.R., We discussed with President Abdel Nasser matters of mutual interest to our two countries and international affairs. We also visited various national centres and institutions of economic and social interest and importance.

From the start of Our visit in the U.A.R. the warm and cordial reception and the spontaneous expression of friendship extended to Us by President Gamal Abdel Nasser and other leaders of the Government and the people of the country wherever We went, created in Us a feeling of great pleasure and satisfaction.

Millennial Friendship

As you know, the relation between Ethiopia and the U.A.R. had its beginnings thousands of years ago. The peoples of the two countries, apart from being neighbours, have common aspirations and ideals, and are also bound by a common link which is the Great Blue Nile. During Our visit We discussed matters of mutual interest to our two countries, problems common to this region, as well as the general situation of the world. In particular, We are most satisfied that We were able to make personal acquaintance with President Gamal Abdel Nasser and to hold frank and friendly discussion with him regarding matters of common interest to our two nations and to have been able to reach complete understanding.

What We witnessed during Our brief stay in the U.A.R. regarding the progress of the industry and economy of the country was commendable. We were impressed by the hard work and struggle of the people to improve their standard of living.

From the many important achievements of Our visit, one which has given Us great satisfaction was the successful completion of the agreement regarding the relation of our two Churches. During Our reign We have spared no efforts to attain the greatness that is due to the Ethiopian Church which has been an island of Christianity in the Continent of Africa. We are most thankful to Almighty God to have witnessed the fruits of Our efforts during Our reign by the elevation of an Ethiopian to the Patriarchate of the Ethiopian Church.

After Egypt, We visited the Soviet Union. Although a few years have passed since We accepted an invitation to visit the Soviet Union, for various reasons We have not been able to go there earlier. We are now happy to have been able to visit that great country with which Ethiopia for a long time has maintained friendly relations.

One of the famous generals of the era of Peter the Great was Abraham Hannibal, who was an Ethiopian, and whose great grandson was the celebrated poet, Alexander Pushkin. We can therefore say that we have had a continued relation with the Soviet Union in the military and cultural fields.

Did not Recognize Occupation

In addition to the medical aid which the Soviet Union provided to Ethiopia, during the battle of Adowa and now in Our era, and, apart from the assistance We were able to obtain from that country through the Red Cross doctors during the Fascist invasion, the Soviet Union supported Our stand in the League of Nations for the freedom of Our country, and it was one of the few great powers that did not recognize the occupation of Our country by the Fascist aggressors.

From the moment of Our arrival in the Soviet Union, the warm and great reception accorded to Us by the peoples and their leaders, whose hospitality is well-known, was beyond Our expectation. Although it takes a long time to visit the whole of the Soviet Union, during Our fortnight stay there We were most impressed to see how the peoples of the Soviet Union have been able to recover from the aftermath of a devastating war, carrying out full reconstruction within a short period of time and achieving remarkable progress in economic, industrial, scientific, technical and social fields, and thus establishing themselves, within the span of forty years, as one of the great powers of Our time.

In the talks which we had with the leaders of the Soviet Union concerning our two countries in particular and world peace in general, We reached full understanding. Moreover, We were able to make personal acquaintance with Mr. Voroshilov, the President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and Mr. Khrushchev, the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, and we had frank and friendly exchange of views on various matters and reached full agreement on all of them. As the result of our talks, agreements have been signed between our two governments for economic co-operation and the widening of the scope of our cultural and commercial relations. Apart from this, it is a measure of satisfaction to us all to have obtained a long-term loan of four hundred million roubles (400,000,000) at low interest to finance Ethiopia’s Five-Year Plan and the various other projects for the economic development of the country and the raising of the standard of living of Our people.

Ethiopia has abundant natural resources. However, because of lack of capital, it has not been possible to develop these natural resources for the benefit of the people. It is to exploit these natural resources and to carry out the Five-Year Plan for the benefit of Our people that We have acquired credits from friendly countries such as the United States, Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Germany and Czechoslovakia.

We believe that the assistance We obtained from the Soviet Union will greatly enhance the exploitation of our natural resources and the development of our economy.

Friend Indeed

After Our sojourn in the U.S.S.R. came to an end, We visited Czechoslovakia from the 13th to the 17th of July. The relations between Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia are of long standing. It was from this country that Ethiopia was able to acquire most of the arms and munitions needed to defend her jealously guarded independence against the Fascist invaders. Czechoslovakia was among the very few nations that courageously raised their voices in denouncing the Fascist invasion and in giving Us support in Our plea to the League of Nations. It is often said that “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” For this reason, among others, Ethio-Czechoslovak relations are based on a firm and proven foundation. In the early part of the post-war period, when Our defence means were limited, We turned to Czechoslovakia for the purchase of modern arms and the establishment of a munitions factory. You are all aware of the credit advanced to Our Government by the Czechoslovak Government for the purchase of equipment for our hospitals and other public health services.

The warm, cordial and great reception that was accorded Us by the leaders and the people of this friendly nation has once more proved to Us the existence of genuine and sincere friendship between our two nations. During Our sojourn in Czechoslovakia, We were able to visit great industrial establishments, agricultural centres, institutions of higher learning and other famous historical places. We were highly impressed by the tremendous progress achieved in the industrial as well as in the general economic field by the Czechoslovak people, especially in the post-war period.

Just as We have discussed and exchanged views with other leaders of the countries We have visited, We had a fruitful exchange of views with President Antonin Novotny on matters of common interest to our two nations as well as on general matters that concern world peace. The discussions and exchange of views were conducted in a friendly and cordial atmosphere and we were able to reach complete understanding. We have agreed to conclude economic and technical assistance agreements, as well as a cultural agreement, with a view to the further development and strengthening of the economic and cultural ties between our two countries. The Czechoslovak Government has expressed its willingness to help Us in Our effort to develop Our nation’s economy and to raise the standard of living of Our people by making it possible for Us to purchase from that country industrial and agricultural equipment by way of credit, which will greatly assist Us in the implementation of Our economic plans.

After Our visit to Czechoslovakia came to an end, We visited for three days the Kingdom of Belgium with which Ethiopia has maintained friendly relations for a long time. The friendly reception that was accorded Us by His Majesty King Baudouin, the Government officials and the people of Belgium, was cordial. We are pleased to have had an opportunity to meet King Baudouin in person and to have been able to exchange views on various subjects. We were able to gather that the people of Belgium have reposed great hopes in the King and that King Baudouin is a kind and understanding person. During Our short stay in Belgium We visited modern industrial establishments and various places of interest. By so doing, We were able to see for Ourself the progress achieved in the economic as well as in other fields by Belgium since Our first visit there thirty-five years ago. We believe that Our recent visit has further strengthened the relations between our two countries.

After the conclusion of Our visit to Belgium, We stayed in Paris for two days. All of you are aware of the long and friendly relations that have existed between Ethiopia and France. The cordial welcome accorded Us by the people and Government of France, both recently and when We officially visited France four years ago, was a manifestation of the friendly feelings which the people of France entertain towards the people of Ethiopia.

Renewed Friendship

Not only did We renew Our friendship with General de Gaulle, President of France, which We had cultivated during the time when our two countries were under hard trials, but We also conducted fruitful discussions concerning economic, commercial and cultural relations existing between Ethiopia and France. We also reached mutual understanding in broad discussion of matters of mutual concern to our two countries, and, in general, exchanged views concerning international peace. General de Gaulle, whose greatness is well known in Ethiopia, has a friendly regard towards Our country.

On the invitation of the President of Portugal, We visited the Portuguese Republic from the 26th to the 3lst of July. Portugal is one of the friendly countries with which Ethiopia has had contact since the end of the Fifteenth Century.

The spontaneous and friendly welcome accorded Us during Our visit by the Government and people of Portugal has left a deep impression on Us. We had discussions with President Admiral Amerigo Thomas and the well-known Prime Minister, Mr. Salazar, concerning relations between our two countries and international peace. A cultural agreement was signed between our two Governments in order to develop the cultural ties that were first established in the Sixteenth Century and to study and make known the history of the two countries.

During Our short stay in the Federal Republic of Germany We were pleased to have had the opportunity to meet the President, Professor Huess, and to discuss with him matters of common interest.

Continuing Our visit to friendly countries, on the invitation of Our Great Friend H.E. Marshal Tito, We visited the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia from the 15th to the 23rd of August.

Example of Co-operation

As you know, We have, during a period of five years, visited Yugoslavia twice, and H.E. Marshal Tito has, in about the same period of time, visited Ethiopia twice. This is proof of the firm and friendly ties that exist between our two countries. Yugoslavia has not only granted Ethiopia a loan for the realization of the programme initiated for the economic development of Ethiopia, but has also extended assistance in the form of experts in the field of medicine and other various technical matters. These aids have shown fruitful results to the greatest satisfaction of both sides. Even though the two countries have different economic and internal political systems, these dissimilarities have not been obstacles to mutual understanding, co-operation and working together in a friendly spirit. This, We believe, is exemplary.

During Our stay in Yugoslavia, while visiting various regions and industrial centres We were highly impressed and touched by the true and friendly welcome and reception accorded Us by Our Great Friend Marshal Tito, his associates and the peoples of Yugoslavia. The development works and industrial centres which We visited were symbols of the amazing progress Yugoslavia has achieved in the socio­economic field in the last five years since We first visited Yugoslavia. In the course of Our recent stay in Yugoslavia, We discussed with Marshal Tito matters concerning the relationship of our two countries and explored ways and means to further strengthen the economic and commercial ties between our two nations. We also broadly discussed general international affairs. In the course of our discussions we reached as in the past, full understanding and identity of views.

It is undeniable that We have gained a great benefit and assistance for Our country and have increased its prestige by Our visits to friendly countries on various occasions during the past five years. Similarly, from Our recent visit, in addition to the fact that it has strengthened Our relations with friendly countries, has ensued great political results and it has enabled Us to secure credit to permit Us to implement the economic development projects which will raise the standard of living of Our beloved people.

Foreign Policy

All of you are aware that Ethiopia’s foreign policy is based on the principles of the United Nations Charter as well as on the Bandung and Accra Declarations. These principles which We have long cherished and for which We have striven are, among others, collective security, peaceful and active co-existence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other nations and peaceful settlements of all disputes among nations.

Of the countries which We visited during Our recent trip, there are some whose economic and political systems are different from ours. We believe that these are made to serve the particular needs of each country and are matters of domestic concern to each nation, and for this reason We do not believe that such differences in political and economic systems should stand as a hindrance to the understanding, collaboration and co-operation among nations on important matters that are of common concern. Therefore, the misinterpretation that was placed by certain circles upon the meetings and discussions which We have had with the leaders of the countries that We have visited was not because they were not fully aware of the fact that Ethiopia’s foreign policy is based upon the above mentioned principles, but, rather, it seems, that this misinterpretation was intended to create an atmosphere that will serve their own particular interests.

Leaders’ Responsibility

In this age when man, through his knowledge of science, has created dangerous weapons to destroy himself, the responsibility of the great powers for the maintenance of world peace is well known to everyone. We believe that the exchange of visits by statesmen to talk over matters on which their points of view differ will greatly help remove the misunderstandings and mistrust prevailing among States. One of the aims of Our visit to friendly countries was to implement and strengthen this belief of Ours. After Our visit to the Soviet Union, We were happy to hear of the forthcoming exchange of visits between Mr. Kruschev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R., and Mr. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America. It is believed that the meeting of the two leaders will remove the dangerous situation now prevailing in the world and create an atmosphere of peace. We have expressed Our hope and best wishes and those of Our people that the talks they will hold during their meeting will be fruitful.

In all the countries that We have visited We have felt that all peoples are greatly concerned about the maintenance of world peace.

The peoples of the world today, as in the past, desire to work for the improvement of their standard of living and to live in peace. We do not agree with the point of view that the present unstable situation is the result of differences in the political, economic and social systems among nations.

Even though it is not possible to cite in history an era in which all the peoples of the world were in complete agreement on all things, nevertheless they have not been prevented from working in co-operation for their mutual benefit.

Purpose of Visits

The purposes and aims of Our visit are well known to all of you. However, We desire that you share with Us the main objectives of Our visit. These major objectives were the following: to find ways and means of raising the standard of living of Our people and the economic development of Our country; to discuss with leaders of friendly countries and acquire aid for the implementation of the programme which We have initiated for the progress of Our country; to observe personally their development projects, and choose from amongst them those projects that We believe will aid in the raising of the standard of living of Our people, and which will not only show fruitful results within Our time, but will also be a firm and unshakable foundation for generations to come so that all will work and struggle in a united effort for the welfare and prosperity of Our nation. Desirous that all Ethiopians will faithfully follow and give full support to the development programmes initiated by Us for the further progress of Our nation, We would like to cite as an example some of the things which, during Our former and recent visits, We have closely examined and personally witnessed and which We have chosen as being useful to the progress of Our people. In all the countries that We have toured, We have observed that the great fine arts so far achieved were preceded by many thousands of years of fine arts development attained by human effort. For example, during Our sojourn We have seen cathedrals, public buildings, edifices and monuments constructed and ornate with gold, diamonds, marble and precious stones. We were also impressed by the collection of fine arts achieved by the great masters of the past.

Call to the People

In connection with these achievements, when we enquire into the origins of the attempt of man to utilize this knowledge and go beyond these to extend the directions of his enquiry without limit, we find the reason for all these to be the desire of man to be diligent and to widen the horizon of his knowledge.

Although the beginnings of civilization of each country vary in time, the fundamental factors which gave impetus to each country to awaken and embark on the road to progress to reach their present level of development are those qualities which are enshrined in the nature of man, namely, desire and fortitude.

The present high standard of development has been achieved through the accumulation of knowledge from time immemorial. We would like Our people to realize that this is not something that has been accomplished at one stage nor by coincidence, nor has this stage been reached in one generation, but is the result of the toil, fortitude and sacrifices of succeeding generations. We have been prompted to refer briefly to the history of civilization because it is Our constant endeavour that all Ethiopians, in their attempt to satisfy their material needs, to invigorate their energy, eradicate idleness and generate an unceasing desire for better and more things, shall elevate their standard of living to that of the people inhabiting other parts of the world and be able to spare for others.

It is a fact that the knowledge and wealth that We had inherited from our ancestors which has been plundered and lost, could be excavated and discovered. But what we possess today has been initiated and established in Our lifetime.

Vibrant Policy

It is by the understanding of past difficulties that we can bequeath fundamental guidances which would be of pride to the coming generations. We therefore urge Our people to struggle and to make sacrifices for those things which will enable them to ameliorate their conditions of life and leave a richer heritage.

We wish to recall to Our people what St. Paul said: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as the day.” The Ethiopian people are now conscious of their destiny and can strive to achieve their ideals. In Our study of the various social systems during Our extended tour, We have found that the reason for their successful progress lies in the fact they have accumulated enough capital which, in turn, made it possible for them to carry out better farming, finance mining projects to serve their industry, harness their rivers, and in general exploit their natural resources.

It is only through their achievements and not because of the difference in their innate ability nor in their numerical superiority that some countries have attained a high degree of progress while those which have not fully developed and utilized their inborn abilities and thereby lagged behind in tapping their natural resources have been labelled “under­developed.” The latter have become the dumping-ground of the expensive manufactured goods of the former.

Exert Greater Effort

The only way to safeguard Ethiopia’s political and economic independence is for her to make progress and stand on her own feet by exerting greater effort. When We compare Our country with others, We can say that the forests, the rivers, the mountains and the plains constitute wealth. We should all be proud of these fortunate blessings, with which Almighty God has endowed Our country.

Brace yourselves for hard work and pool your resources to compete with others in the economic and commercial activities of your motherland. Let each one of us be conscious of his responsibilities and firmly discharge his obligations, thereby becoming master of his own destiny. It is better to till the land rather than to bicker on trivial matters. It is better to exploit effectively a small tract of land rather than to proclaim as being the owner of vast idle land.

Our waterfalls are sources of immense power and energy when properly harnessed. Use these waters to irrigate your land and you will be able to have two harvests annually. The naked mountains and hills are as useful as the plains below. Plant them with fir trees, teakwoods, eucalyptus and other trees and within a short time you will increase the forest resources of your country.

Tend your livestock. Just as one cannot harvest unless he cultivates his land, so also one cannot expect good results from his livestock unless he tends them carefully.

You have a rich land that yields a variety of products. Do not be contented with the satisfaction of your bare needs, but instead, cultivate your land among others with oleogenous plants, the seeds of which you can export for your greater benefit. Use the forest woods to make furniture and implements and exchange them for money. Your workmanship will be a monument to your name.

Value of Thrift

One should realize that thriftiness is the basis for the accumulation of wealth and the economic growth of a nation. One seldom minimizes the value of money earned by the sweat of the brow however small it may be, but for the extravagant even a huge amount of money is worthless. Know how to use your money wisely and effectively. A habit once formed becomes an incurable second nature. Therefore utilize your wealth for worthwhile things and avoid employing it for harmful purposes and for monetary pleasures.

What are the things you possess? What are your objectives in acquiring them? Learn how to spend wisely and the increase of your wealth will eventually be your guide.

Use your savings where it will pay you most. The hoarding of money does not yield dividends! If you wish your savings to pay you higher dividends, join in with those of your fellow citizens. It is through hard work, know-how, and patience that you will be able to increase your capital. The foundation and essential characteristics of a healthy society are mutual trust and confidence. Unless man undertakes the improvement of his society in co-operation with others, his striving for wealth becomes mere wishes. Do not be the victims of temporary contentment and petty satisfactions. Aspire for worthwhile aims that shall be ideals for succeeding generations.

Individual and Nation

The prosperity of each individual constitutes the wealth of Our nation which will eventually enable Us to expand the schools and hospitals that We have established for the welfare of Our people. The expansion of public health services will decrease the mortality rate and increase Our population.

Just as a farm that is not taken care of cannot be free of weeds, so is also the development of a society. It cannot be denied that there are some people who have scrupulously or unscrupulously attempted to or have acquired wealth. If the wealth of a person cannot be for the general welfare, what would he gain for himself and his offspring but grudge and hatred? The fruits of one’s sweat and mental labour are always rewarding, not only to oneself but also to one’s succeeding generations. Be resolute in your work and attempt to complete whatever you undertake. If you face failure, try again and persist in your determination to attain your aim. Develop a healthy pursuit of life and do not limit your efforts to satisfying your selfish desires.

In particular, our youth must be steadfast and take advantage of the benefits of modern civilization. Do not fall prey to idleness for it shall be a curse to you and to succeeding generations. You must set yourselves up as examples of determination and hard work. Plan your time and use both your physical and mental powers purposefully and productively.

We must remember that man’s achievements in the field of wireless communications, aviation, medical sciences and many others have been accomplished through the ages by patience and hard work, diligence, perseverance and tenacity. It is in the light of these that We urge Our youth to struggle constantly and unceasingly to achieve their aims.

Capital and Labour

The fact that medical doctors, engineers, pilots, the cadets, in the various military academies, nurses, teachers and the many other professionals, have been successfully trained in the various schools that We have established, will serve as an illustration of what We have stated above. Convinced that capital and labour are necessary ingredients for wealth and prosperity and that these two factors are absolute essentials for the economic development of Our country, and believing that Our beloved people shall apply itself to the task of its economic progress, We have acquired loans from friendly countries.

Henceforth, the next step for each Ethiopian, wherever he may be and whatever his endeavours are, is to follow Our directions and to devote himself assiduously to the execution of Our plan for the betterment of Our country. If we fail to use profitably the credit which We have acquired for the development of our communications system, port facilities and the establishment of industries, we shall have brought a heavy liability, not only upon ourselves but upon succeeding generations.

Ethiopians, have courage and brace yourselves up. Unless you improve your lot by the sweat of your brow nobody will shoulder your responsibilities. Provided that you pursue your task with unswerving dedication, We, on Our part, shall do everything possible to assist you in your forward march.

Help Made Available

Just as We have done in the past, We shall make available to you through various experts, directives which will serve as your guide in your work.

We have instructed the municipalities to prepare and make available to you at little cost various types of seedlings.

We shall organize teams of experts who will give you advice and counsel in the fields of agriculture and public health. We shall also set up groups of experts who will give you advice and counsel in co-operative farming and trading.

For the purpose of cultivating oleogenous plants and to the end that you may have better marketing possibilities, We shall make available to you experts.

We shall organize for you a team of experts to study your needs and the ways and means of improving the quality of crops and trading systems in relation to the present economic and marketing conditions.

As We hold Our people in great affection so do they entertain great feelings of affection towards Us. As a father should bequeath not only wealth to his children but also provide them with proper education so that they may have a richer and fuller life, so should it be the duty of those for whom much has been done to show gratitude. Therefore, let us unite Our efforts to show in deeds what We profess in words.

In conclusion, since the ideas that We have conceived and the projects that have been planned for the development of the country can best materialize by the incessant efforts of Our people and the application of everyone’s ability in harmonious co-operation, We call upon Our people to be steadfast in this noble and challenging undertaking.

May Almighty God sustain Us to realize these high ideals.

August 29, 1959.


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Emperor Haile Sellassie First Theocracy Reign
Order of the Nyahbinghi

May 10, 2017