Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
After, through God's mercy, We were able to liberate Our country from fascist invasion, one of Our major administrative tasks in the process of raising the standard of living of Our people was the organization of the Armed Forces and the Police.
In pre-war days it was the custom to provide the Armed Forces and the Police with provisions, and they were given land holdings. This was superseded immediately after the Liberation by a salary together with the supply of uniforms and other military requirements. It was a mark of pride to see Our servicemen adapt their traditional and customary habits to the modern military organization, to see them trained in the execution of up-to-date tactics and in the use of modern weapons.
Although thorough military organization requires a great deal of money and much sacrificial labour, We still pressed forward with the programmes of establishing military schools to train Our Armed Forces.
In addition to promoting Our officers in various ranks in recent times We, being aware of the necessity of other ranks and the rank and file to share in better living conditions and in sound health, established military hospitals, increased their salaries and added allowances for their children.
Today, the sum of Eth.$1,500,000 has been added to the budget of the Armed Forces including the police which will provide salary increases over and above the previous made for uniform, hospitalization and family allowance.
Moreover, We have given orders today that all those who have not benefited previously should be given one gasha of free-hold land each. Officials have already been assigned to see that this order is executed. The reason is clear, for money is expendable while land, being real estate, is permanent and transferable to your children.
It is not enough just to say that one owns land. The grant will be organized so that the recipients could co-operate together for its exploitation.
The land distribution declaration which We made today includes the Police Force and is ordered effective from November 23, 1948.*
We should like to remind you before concluding that, just as your fathers and forefathers, with the Almighty as the source of their defence, never yielded to enemy force or propaganda in preserving the freedom of Our country, so you, strengthened by your inherited valour co-ordinated with the modern military techniques you have acquired, are expected to fulfil the high tasks with which you have been assigned.
To maintain one's personal freedom in honour demands self-sacrifice which, in turn, calls for valour and loyalty. We command devotion to duty so that by your glorious military exploits, you could preserve the honour and freedom of your country.
November 15, 1948.
* The published text has 1958 which is likely to be an error given the date the speech was made. It has been corrected to the probable year. - Ed.
Electronic edition created and published online by members of the
August 16, 2017