Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
TO THE HARAR MILITARY ACADEMY
We have been blessed, during Our lifetime, in having been spared to see the fruits of the labours which We have expended on behalf of the advancement and progress of Our beloved country bloom and ripen before Our very eyes. In the decades which have passed since, by the Grace of Almighty God, We were called to the throne of this, Our Empire, We have seen Our country grow and flourish, We have seen Ethiopia emerge free and victorious from the trials and oppressions of the period of invasion, We have witnessed succeeding generations of the youth of Our Empire come of age and rededicate themselves to the cause of their Motherland. And each year, We have been fortunate indeed in that We have seen the fulfilment of old dreams, the attainment of goals established long ago.
One such event We celebrate today, when the first class of officer cadets, educated at the Haile Selassie I Academy graduate from this institution to take their place in the Officer Corps of the Imperial Ethiopian Armed Forces. This is a proud day indeed, and grateful thanks are due to all who have in any way contributed to this achievement; those who assisted Us in the planning of the project; the Officers of Our Army who have co-operated in the operation of the Academy; Brigadier Rawlley and the officers of the Indian Army and the Indian civilians who have toiled so selflessly in the education of these cadets; the Indian Government, which so generously placed these instructors at the Academy's disposal.
When We first decided to staff this Academy with Indian Officers, it was Our sincere belief that they would do their utmost to meet Our desire. We thank General Thimayya for his kind remarks and for the advice he has given to the Cadets.
In the midst of these celebrations, We would only add some words concerning the significance of this day for the graduates who are filed here before Us. To you new officers now falls a high measure of responsibility for the protection of your country, which has made such great sacrifices on your behalf, against any enemy, coming from whatever quarter, who would harm her or rob her people of the precious gift of freedom in defence of which your forefathers sacrificially shed their blood. Just as life is characterized by pleasure and pain, in the fulfilment of your high mission you will inevitably encounter both of these attributes.
To discharge this duty, you must at all times maintain yourselves at the peak of mental and physical standard. You must be loyal, of high moral character and cultivate the habit of eternal vigilance. You must be courageous in the face of danger and tireless on the field of battle. You must inspire confidence in those you lead and show them, by your example, that the defence of their Motherland is paramount and must be placed above all else.
But another, equally important, responsibility will be yours in the years to come. For, although you have been trained for warfare and battle, you must strive, by all honourable means at your disposal, to assure that these circumstances which will call into action the very skills and techniques in which you have been trained never come into existence. Educated for war, you must strive to preserve peace. Warfare never had made and can never make an affirmative contribution to the welfare of mankind; good cannot grow out of evil. Ethiopia has, during the lifetime of almost all here present, been visited by the horrors of modern warfare, and the memories and scars which it left upon Our country are vivid and visible for all to see.
But, as terrible as the war was, many hundredfold worse would be warfare at this time; indeed warfare today would threaten the very existence of mankind. Were it possible effectively to outlaw war, no right-thinking person would hesitate even for a moment in doing so. If it is not possible to do so today, it is only because mankind, despite the lessons of history, has not yet learned to settle disputes among peoples and nations by peaceful means. This also, must be your task and your goal in your future careers.
The power to wage war, then, is a dreadful one. As you advance in years, in rank and We trust, in wisdom, do not be corrupted by this power. At the present time the representatives of 98 nations are meeting in the United Nations General Assembly to find an answer to one of the most cherished dreams of mankind, that of peaceful disarmament, and to remedy the many causes that have so far divided the nations of the world. Because of the divergence among the big powers on disarmament and other world issues, however, our planet is torn between conflicting interests.
Were the wishes of the smaller nations given their rightful consideration, this state of affairs would have yielded to the necessary solution. Since these smaller nations do not possess the power to implement their recommendations, their advice has thus far gone unheeded.
Nevertheless, because mankind cannot abandon hope the struggle must continue. In the present session of the General Assembly We understand that a group of leaders such as Prime Minister Nehru are trying to find a compromise to bring the two opposing blocs together. Since We subscribe in principle to the same vein of thought, We hope that something fruitful will result from their endeavours.
It is in support of the principle of collective security that We have dispatched Our troops to the Congo under the auspices of the United Nations to maintain law and order and to preserve the integrity of the new Republic, without interference in the internal affairs of that country. The fact is that these troops have encountered certain obstacles in the execution of their duties.
The Congo problem has not as yet been resolved not only because of the East-West conflict but as well because of the lack of solidarity among the Independent African States. This absence of solidarity and the East-West divergence on the issue has created a regrettable and painful situation. In this the Congolese people in particular must suffer the consequences, but, in the final analysis, it is detrimental to the whole of Africa.
While We do not anticipate that these observations and circumstances would encompass you or future generations, We have cited them so that in the execution of your future duties which will not be limited only to the military field, if they occur, you will be able to evaluate them and be in a better position to undertake your responsibilities. You should continue without fail to broaden and develop your knowledge. For a person who claims to know everything, as the Scriptures say, is like “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.”
Use your knowledge for good, to preserve peace among men. Your prayers today should be two-fold. First, that never, during your lifetime will you ever be called upon to fire a shot in battle; secondly, if you are required to do so, that you will acquit yourselves well in the hoary Ethiopian tradition.
We extend warm greetings to the Military Representatives of friendly countries who, in response to Our invitation, have come here today to partake with Us in the joy of this event.
Oct 3, 1960.
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August 23, 2017