|Addresses The Belgrade Conference|
Sept. 03, 1961
|.... We are meeting at a crucial juncture in history. Even within the confines of these walls, the |
rattling of the sabres of the mighty powers clashes in our ears.
|We deem it a privilege to be here today in Belgrade as the guest of Our old and good friend, |
Marshal Josep Broz Tito, and to address this Conference which is meeting in this, the capital city of
Yugoslavia. To all who here Our words, and to all whom they represent, We extend Our greetings
and those of the people of Ethiopia.
We would also extend Our thanks to Marshal Tito for acting as host at this Conference and to the
Government and people of Yugoslavia for the warm welcome which has been accorded Us here, a
welcome which We have come to know to be characteristic of the friendly and generous Yugoslav
We are particularly gratified at being able to speak to this Conference, called to provide a forum
wherein nations sharing common attitudes and facing common difficulties may exchange vies on
some of the urgent problems which confront the peoples of the world today, because among those
gathered here are many great world leaders, men whom We are privileged to call friends and
whom We and the peoples of the world hold in highest esteem. Their presence in this hall augurs
well for the success of our labours. We regret only that representatives of other nations which We
believe share views similar to our are not also numbered among those present here.
|Critical Juncture In History|
|We are meeting at a critical juncture in history. Even within the confines of these walls, the rattling |
of the sabres of the mighty powers clashes in our ears. The dark and ominous clouds of world
conflict loom threateningly on the horizon. Both great power groups, while disclaiming any
intention of initiating aggression, have dwelt, in public utterances, upon their retaliatory might,
upon their ability to wage a war in which tens and hundreds of millions would be the victims, in
which, indeed, some of us fear that man himself might be exterminated.
These are grim days indeed, and we must call upon a high degree of courage to face each new
dawn and the dangers and decisions it brings. But at the same time, we should not be cast into
despair or deterred from attacking, with zeal and energy, the problems which we have met to
consider. Rather, and perhaps for the first time, let us undertake a realistic and critical reappraisal
of our role in history and thus achieve a complete understanding of the full extent of our
involvement in present-day world events. We, personally, welcome this opportunity to
demonstrate the influence which the Non-Aligned Nations can bring to bear upon global problems
and the full extent of the contribution which We can make to their solution.
|The major challenges confronting the world today are two: the preservation of peace and the |
betterment of the living conditions of that half of the world which is poor. These are, of course,
mutually interdependent. Without peace, it is futile to talk of improving man's lot; and without
such improvement, the task of guaranteeing peace is rendered many-fold more difficult. The
assault on these two problems must be made simultaneously, and all of our actions should be
taken with an eye to the solution of both.
The nations which are represented here today have answered an invitation to attend a Conference
of Non-Aligned States. We may usefully ask, as an essential first step in working out our own terms
of reference and in shaping a common approach to the problems we have met to consider, what we
mean by the term "non-aligned."
We may say that no nation here feels itself so wholly within the sphere of influence of either of
these two great groups that it cannot act independently of them and contrary to them whenever it
so chooses and the interests of world peace so dictate. We mean, in sum, that we are all, in the
ultimate sense, neutral in the cold war which rages unabated in the world today.
|By the word "neutral" We do not, of course, mean that abstention from political activity which has |
been for so long the hallmark of a Switzerland. We can no more refrain from political activity in the
year 1961 than man today can voluntarily refrain from partaking of the radioactive fall-out which
will be bestowed upon him should a nuclear holocaust erupt on this globe. Nor does neutrality
mean that without taking sides, we content ourselves with urging that the powers most intimately
concerned negotiate in good faith to the solution of the issues in dispute between them; we have
passed the point where prayerful pleading serves any purpose other than to debase those who
thereby abdicate any responsibility or power to influence events.
To be neutral is to be impartial, impartial to judge actions and policies objectively, as we see them
either contributing to or man's living conditions. Thus, we may find ourselves now opposing, now
supporting, now voting with, now voting against, first the East, next the West. It is the worth of the
policies themselves, and not their source or sponsor, which determines the position of one who is
This, We maintain, is the essence of non-alignment. Those who would righteously denounce one
side on every major problem or issue while reserving nothing but praise for the other cannot claim
to be non-aligned, nor can those whose policies are shaped for them elsewhere and who wait
patiently to be instructed whether they are to be for or against be called uncommitted.
|We in Ethiopia feel that we have achieved increasing success in incorporating this concept into our |
international relations. We have for many years carried on friendly relations with Western and
Eastern nations. We have received economic aid and technical assistance from both West and East
without in any way compromising our independence in passing judgement on issues which have
arisen between the two, We have never engaged in unjustifiable attacks on either side, but at the
same time, we have never hesitated to be critical of either when we have felt their policies
demanded or deserved criticisms.
Only this definition of non-alignment or, if we like, of neutrality, will serve in the mosern world if
we intend honestly to bring our influence to bear on present-day problems. It is in the
implementation of this concept that we, the Non-Aligned Nations, have influence to bear on
present-day problems. It is in the implementation of this concept that we, the Non-Aligned
Nations, have the betterment of mankind. If we raise our voices against injustice, wherever it be
found, if we demand a stop to aggression our role to play, a role which, unless we compromise it,
can contribute immeasurably to the twin causes of world justice and wherever it occurs and under
whatever guise and brand the aggressor is such, and if we do so on a wholly impartial basis, we can
serve as the collective conscience of the world. On the other hand, we will quickly and surely
sacrifice this privileged position if we reveal ourselves to be biased on one side or the other from
the outset, if we listen with only one ear to only one side, and act in defiance of the principle of
|For the fact is, and while the fact is hard it must be accepted if our deliberations and decisions are |
to bear the stamp of sincerity and reality, even the total combined weight of all of the uncommitted
nations of the world here today, plus those which are not attending this Conference, cannot, in
terms of pure power, be compared to the Western and Eastern powers. To cite but one example,
the population of a single nation, India, represented in our midst by a great and noble statesman
and Our good friend, Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru, exceeds the total population of all of the rest of the
states present here. Analysed with an eye to military strength or to present day wealth, we must
recognize that the uncommitted nations cannot qualify as a power bloc and that our strength
resides not in military might or in economic wealth, but rather, in the cumulative moral influence
which we can bring to bear on the peoples and the problems of the world.
We should not, however, under-estimate the extent of this strength, and realistically appraising its
worth, we must seek ways of exploiting it for the good of mankind. In the struggle which we
witness in the world today, two groups compete for our support and our adherence to their
policies. The leaders and peoples of these two groups are both highly sensitive to our reactions to
their policies, and the potential impact of an aroused public opinion upon them has, We believe, a
far greater significance than we have heretofore realized. Each side is fearful for its cause and will
reap satisfaction or dismay, as the case may be, from the judgements which we pass upon their
actions. If we remain faithful to the principles of Bandung and apply them in our international life,
we will maximize the influence which we can bring to bear on world problems.
|But, in the exercise of this strength we must guard against the temptation to seek to aggrandize our |
position by acting and voting as a group simply for th sake of group action. For when we descend
into the political arena as a recognized and organized and disciplined unit, our moral influence and
our power to rally and shape opinion on questions of world import which is otherwise our greatest
strength is compromised and dissipated. Bloc action implies, within the group, the exertion of
pressures upon recalcitrant members, the compromise of positions, the sacrifice of principle for
political expediency, the trading of votes for votes and adherence to the rule of the quid pro quo.
All of these are inconsistent with the real source of our power: the moral element in the conduct of
human affairs. How often have we all, at the United Nations, witnessed the applauded the
occasions when members of a group, in defiance, of the policies and wishes of the group's leaders,
have voted in accordance with principle and right as they saw it.
We should be aware, too, that in relinquishing the role which we may play, if we will, in insisting
upon the devotion to principle which is the antithesis of pure power politics, we play the game of
those whom we seek influence. When no one upholds the cause of right and justice for their own
sake, when the small, still voice of conscience speaks no longer, immorality and lack of principle
have triumphed, and in this history all of mankind is the loser.
|This leads Us into the next matter of which We would like to speak to you: the supreme |
importance which we, and particularly the smaller nations among us, must continue to attach to
the role played by the United Nations in the field of international relations. The United Nations, in
the first instance, provides the forum wherein we, who claim the freedom and the position to speak
frankly and openly against injustice, against desertion of principle, against the intimidation, the
oppression, the subjugation of the weak by the powerful, can make our voices heard. We must be
ever vigilant to assure that such an institution is preserved to us. The year 1960 has been called
the Year of Africa -- and rightly so. We would ask our fellow Africans to assess in their own minds
the significance of the role which the very existence of the United Nations played that the United
Nations is directly responsible for the coming of age of Africa. We do assert, however, that without
the medium provided by the United Nations, wherein the African struggle for freedom could be
brought before the conscience of the world, the forces of colonialism would remain far more firmly
entrenched on the African continent than they do today.
Equally important, the United Nations provides the instrumentality whereby the principle of
Collective Security, to which We personally have devoted Our lifetime, achieves real and tangible
existence and meaning. If force must be employed in the world today in resistance to aggression
and in the maintenance of world peace, surely it is preferable that it be employed through an
institution such as the United Nations, in pursuance of international decisions legally and openly
arrived at there. Ethiopia has not hesitated to respond in the past with all the resources at her
disposal to the call of the United Nations in times of crisis, and we shall not hesitate to do so again
should the call be made.
|Let us not delude ourselves, it is not the great powers that need or benefit from the existence of the |
United Nations. It is the small powers, which depend on and require and demand that it live. It is
we who have the most to gain through the successful achievement of its goals, it is we who have
the most to lose should it one day be relegated to a tidy niche in history, a niche already occupied
by the League of Nations. We have had sad occasions to observe in the not too distant past that
the great powers are capable of injustice and of abuse of power. We are all too well aware, as
recent events and utterances should convince any but the most sceptical and disbelieving, that the
great powers, while prepared to use the United Nations when it suits their convenience, have been
equally willing to ignore and by-pass it and act independently of it when their interests so
dictated. Unilateral action outside the United Nations is, however, a luxury denied to the poorer
and weaker nations.
But, in the face of world opinion, massed in support of right and justice, We venture to suggest that
even the great nations, powerful as they are, will hesitate to breach the peace and violate
fundamental rights of mankind and of nations, in defiance of the United Nations, and thus face
universal condemnation. This is our hope, our only hope, and it is our obligation to insure that the
full weight of our influence is solidly ranged on the side of right and justice in this forum.
|In our appraisal of the United Nations, of its structure and the field of action proper and |
appropriate to it, we must recognize the historically demonstrated fact that a wilful and deliberate
violation by any member state of its obligations under the United Nations Charter weakens the
United Nation's prestige and threatens its destruction. Let us speak frankly; he who acts
deliberately and with calculation to the injury of the United Nations, to weaken it or to endanger its
existence as an effective and energetic international institution, is the enemy of all of us. He robs
the world of the last, best hope for peace, robs the small nations of that bulwark which the United
Nations provides against oppression and he deprives them of the forum where their voice may be
raised against injustice and oppression. It is, perhaps, no accident that the United Nations
headquarters resembles a structure of glass. It is a fragile, not an indestructible, institution.
At the same time, we need not delude ourselves, that the performance of the United Nations has
been, at all times and on all questions, that which we might have wished. The United Nations is
man-conceived and man-run, and hence, by its nature and by the nature of man, imperfect. We
must be constantly alert to improve and perfect its machinery, to minimize the risk that in time of
crisis it will fail us, to assure that its decisions are founded on principle and not on bias and
The most obvious defect which We observe in the United Nations today derives from the fact that
this Organization, in 1961, remains the self-same entity which was created sixteen years ago at San
Francisco. Its membership has more than doubled from 46 to 99 nations, but its structure remains
the same, and no measures have been taken to assure that adequate representation in its
constituent organs is guaranteed to the peoples who have, since 1945, taken their places in this
world body. We must not and we shall not be denied this right -- for this is a right and not a
privilege. The increased participation of the Non-Aligned Nations in the day-to-day activities of the
United Nations is the best safeguard against the arbitrary abuse of its powers and functions by and
for the benefit of a single group, and such a development would enhance immeasurably its
effectiveness as a bulwark against aggression and a guarantor of the peace.
We must, too, observe that the United Nations can scarcely fulfil the role envisaged for it by its
founders so long as hundreds of millions of people remain unrepresented there. We refer now not
merely to those whose independence is yet to be attained but, as well, to those states, primary
among which is the People's Republic of China, which have thus far been excluded from a seat in its
councils. We can hardly speak with true sincerity of a universal meeting place or of an
organization whose decisions will be binding upon the world community of nations when states
which we, the Non-Aligned Countries, would wish to influence are not present to hear our words or
to feel the weight of our opinions. We urge both the proponents and the opponents of the
admission of such states to seek an acceptable formula whereby those to whom We refer may soon
be counted among the members of the Organization.
|In dealing with the present problems, which at the moment appear so overwhelming, let us, at the |
same time, do so with a clear eye to the future. Let us be far-seeing in our actions. There is no area
to which this rule does not apply, and We would seek to apply it specifically, at this moment, to the
problem of colonialism.
We have spoken of the part played by the United Nations in contributing to the decline of the
system of colonialism. Although herself never colonilized, Ethiopia, like all Asian and African
states, has a lively and vivid appreciation of the vices of this system. Ethiopia was arbitrarily
included within the sphere of influence of a colonial empire when the map of Africa was carved up
by treaty at the end of the 19th Century, and Our country's invasion in 1935 was but the last act in
a prolonged struggle to impose upon Ethiopians this most ignoble of human conditions of
servitude. No nation in Africa, we Ethiopians proudly boast, can be said to have more consistently
and more fiercely fought against the shackles of colonialism.
It is clear to Us that colonialism, defined in the classic sense, is forever finished, both in Africa and
in Asia. Its last remaining vestiges are being systematically attacked and destroyed. The major
powers, not entirely voluntarily and not without the exertion of continuing pressure -- for History
knows of few instances where colonial powers have, of their own free will, relinquish control of a
dependent people -- have admitted that the system is out of date, and have acted to change it.
At the same time that we applaud the serpent of colonialism in breathing its last, and while we
strain our every effort to speed its unlamented demise, we must look beyond it to the problems
which remain, several of which, indeed, are created or at least intensified by the disappearance of
colonialism from the world scene. We must recognize and deal with the attempts being made from
all quarters to perpetrate colonial exploitation under new forms and to introduce into our
continents a new system no less inimical to freedom and liberty. Independence means more than
the granting of national flags and anthems, and without real and effective freedom in the economic
and political spheres, liberty becomes a mere catch-phrase, devoid of content. But in our haste to
escape from one system of bondage, we need not, all blindly, embrace another no less oppressive
and burdensome to the free spirit of man.
|Complete Responsibility For Africans|
|In the task which remains of exterminating the last remnants of colonialism, We maintain that we |
need no longer search for or call upon foreign assistance. Speaking now only for Africa, We firmly
assert that free Africans are now fully able and competent themselves to assume complete
responsibility for ensuring the ultimate expulsion from this continent of the last colonial elements.
We go further: We claim, for Africa, the power and the ability to deal, without foreign interference,
with such problems as may arise on this continent in the future, save for those few instances where
Africans themselves may decide that the aid and assistance of the United Nations is required.
For above all else, we must ensure that the cold war shall not be imported into the African
continent. African soil, for so long the battleground in the struggle of the African peoples for
freedom, must not and shall not now be transformed into a field of hostilities in the cold war. Such
a development could nullify the conflict from which Africa is only now emerging victorious, and
obstruct and impede the solution of the problems which decades and centuries of colonialism have
strewn in their wake.
We here are all dedicated to the betterment of the conditions of man's life; we all know the
sorrows and misery of those who do not live but merely exist, the lot of men whose living
conditions are sub-standard. But when We speak of the betterment of man's life, We refer, in
addition, to the spiritual conditions in which man lives, for just as a man without means to feed his
hunger and to clothe his nakedness can take no pride in his existence as a human being, so, also is
one who is reviled and discriminated against because of his race or religion, robbed of his
self-respect and human dignity.
|The spectre of racial discrimination which has for so long cast its dark and evil shadow over much |
of this globe is slowly disappearing. Men are coming increasingly to be judged by their talents and
abilities rather tha by the less meaningful and far more superficial standards of race and religion.
But there yet remain those who, in their bigotry and ignorance, resist this flooding tide, and it is
against these that our efforts must be directed. The struggle to win for our brothers in South Africa
that status as free men, free to stand, heads high, among free men the equals, which so many
millions of Africans and Asians have attained but yesterday, goes on. Our duty is not discharged,
our course is not run, our victory not won so long as apartheid, the legitimized policy of the
Government of the Union of South Africa, prevails in any area of the world.
In South Africa, an attempt has been made to legislate the inequality of the races. This attempt is
doomed to failure. We here are all pledged not to pause in this strife until its emptiness and
mockery are revealed for all to see and those who have used it for their own purposes have
abjured this doctrine which is an insult to all men and to Almighty God in Whose image We are
created. But, at the same time, let us not bemuse ourselves with the notion that it is any more
posssible to legislate equality, for these matters concern attitudes and values over which intellect
sadly exercises but little control. Let us not recoil in hatred against those who, even while
protecting their freedom from bias and prejudice, reveal by their actions that the poison of
discrimination has left its lasting effects, and by this reaction reveal that we, no less than they, are
prey to unreasoning emotion, that we, no less than they, are susceptible to that virus which is
|Apartheid Must Be Discredited|
|The African states have already imposed direct sanctions in the economic and diplomatic fields in |
an attempt to influence the policies of South Africa and to convince the South African leaders that it
is in no sense in their interest longer to adhere to this policy. We should, during this Conference,
consider if there are not additional measures which we may adopt to speed the inevitable day
when the policy of racial discrimination and the principle of apartheid are discredited and
But let us take pride in the fact that as free men we attack and abhor racial discrimination on
principle, wherever it is found and in whatever guise. We can, in addition to the economic
pressures of which we dispose, bring our moral weight to bear and rally would opinion to our
cause by revealing the brutality, the inhumanity, the inherent viciousness and evil represented by
It is only natural for man to strive towards a better life, to wish to educate his children while he
himself was uneducated, to desire to shelter and clothe them while he himself was naked and
scourged by the elements, to strive to spare them from the cruel diseases by which he himself was
ravaged. But when these ends are realized at the expense of others, at the cost of their degradation
and poverty, these desires, which are not intrinsically immoral or pernicious in themselves, must
be frustrated, and the means by which these otherwise legitimate ends are sought to be attained
must be scorned and shunned.
We ourselves, the Non-Aligned Nations of the world, seek no less than others these same
objectives. And it is not by mere chance that we also count among our number the great majority
of the under-developed nations of the world, for not until the direction and determination of man's
fate is firmly within his own grasp can he devote the totality of his strength to his own good.
|In order to speed our economic development, most of us require extensive external financial |
assistance. We need not be ashamed of this fact, particularly when the poverty and ignorance from
which our peoples suffer have been perpetuated through the deliberate and long-standing policies
of others. It is surely in the interest of those who look to the uncommitted world to swing the
balance between West and East that we be economically strong and free of crippling bonds which
would limit our freedom of choice. Only if the Non-Aligned Nations have a real opportunity of
choice can their adherence to and support of their policies be of value; a choice dictated by others
or imposed by outside influence is a meaningless choice.
We believe that on this score the conscience of the world has been awakened, and that the vast
majority of men today recognize the truth of what we say. There are those, however, who raise
their voices in alarm, warning us that this assistance is designed only to impose upon us another
but equally insidious form of subjugation. With this We do not agree. We believe that it is possible
for all of us to receive assistance form diverse sources without compromising that independence
and impartiality which We have already declared should be the hallmark of the nations
|Nonetheless, this fear exists, and when it is coupled with the fear that two assistance programmes |
carried on within the dame area by competing power groupings will ultimately result in the
importation into our countries of the very cold war from which we seek to disengage ourselves, a
powerful and compelling argument for multilateral rather than bilateral assistance is made.
Happily, there aready exists, in the United Nations, the effective means for the channeling and
administration of massive aid programmes free of these attendant dangers. Considerable progress
has already been made in this realm, and we all have cause to be heartened by the ever-increasing
role which the United Nations is playing in this field, a role which is financed by the contributions
of those who, recognizing the validity of our fears, are prepared to accept this technique as a means
of meeting them at no sacrifice to the advancement and enlightenment of the under-developed
peoples. In enlarging the scope of the United Nations operations in the field of economic
development, we also strengthen its position and heighten its stature as an international force for
the preservation of peace.
It is one of the tragedies of our day that while half of the world's population is wracked by a
never-satisfied hunger and remains poverty-stricken, disease-ridden and ignorant, vast amounts
are spent by great powers on armaments, money which, if diverted to satisfying the basic human
needs of the poorer people of the world, could transform their lives and restore to them their
human dignity, their happiness in the present and their confidence and faith in the future. No
nation is possessed of limitless riches, and each heightening of world tensions and the forced
expenditure which calls forth greater military strength on the part of those to whom we look for
aid, serves to lessen the sums available to fight misery, and the great nations cannot, even if they
would, enlist their full support in this battle.
|And yet, while we await hopefully that measure of assistance which, coupled with our own |
resources, could assure the ultimate triumph of the under-developed peoples over their poverty,
the rich and powerful boast of the size of their military arms and the might of their forces. The one
claims that it will spend the other into bankruptcy and collapse -- a most worthy and noble
objective. We must recognize that the cold war poses not only a military danger; the cold war robs
the under-developed nations of their hopes for a happier and more prosperous future. Much
emphasis has been laid on the risks to man's life on this planet which a world arms race carries
with it, and too little recognition has been given to side-effects and indirect consequences of
astronomical military spending. Disarmament must be achieved not only because in this fashion
will the threat of a world holocaust be dispelled, but, equally because only through a drastic
reduction in the military budgets of the great powers can the vast resources required to raise all of
mankind to the level of free men be freed for these purposes.
The agenda which has been placed before us at this Conference is ambitions in the extreme. In
effect, we are to pass judgment, in one way or another, on virutally every question of significance
which confronts the world today. This is as it should be; once having taken our places as
responsible, intelligent members in the international family of nations, we cannot shirk our
This agenda raises both questions of principle and questions involving the application of accepted
principles to specific problem areas. Both types of questions pose equally great difficulties, and
there are no easy answers to the problemss before us.
|We may cite one example arising out of the very language of the Charter of the United Nations. We |
are to discuss, during this Conference, the right of peoples and nations to self-determination, a
right which is an issue in various regions of the world today. We are also called upon to reaffirm
our respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and the principle of
non-interference and non-intervention in their internal affairs, principles which have demonstrated
their essential worth and validity in the field of international relations many times over and to
which we believe all here are wholly dedicated.
We deign to suggest that there is some inconsistency, some internal contradiction between these
principles when closely linked together, whereas considered separately and apart, none would
deny them at least lip service. Can a Government which overtly or covertly supports the violation
of the territorial integrity of another state justify its actions on the ground that it seeks only to
implement the principle of self-determination for all or a portion of the people of the nation? We
think not. To contend contrariwise si to adopt the thesis of Adolf Hitler, who contended, in support
of the action of the Third Reich in incorporating Austria into Germany, that "It is obvious that an
idea embracing the entire German people and arising from its depths cannot be stopped at the
frontiers of a country."
|Similarly, when we consider the topic of peaceful co-existence among states with different political |
and social systems, we must guard against careless use of terms or language which, for different
people, have different meanings. Peaceful co-existence is not merely the absence of war. It
embraces non-interference and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of others, refraining from
propaganda activities calculated to create disharmony among states short of war or among
peoples of the same nation, the cessation of subversive activities designed to ferment civil disorder
and revolution in other nations, and the like. The word itself is an empty bottle; it is for us to give
it content and meaning.
In considering the specific problems before us, We find hardly more cause for optimism or for
hopes of easy and early solutions. But, to revert to a theme earlier sounded, that upon which
Ethiopia's foreign policy is founded, it is to the United Nations that we must look for the final
decisions concerning these crisis areas. Let us consider Algeria, where thousands have died in
seeking those rights which we assembled in this hall enjoy as our most precious possessions. This
problem, of fundamental importance for the security of the world, has already figured on the
agenda of several sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and in a few days it will
again be the subject of discussion there. We remain hopeful that bilateral negotiations between
France and the representatives of the F.L.N., here among us, will terminate in success; meanwhile,
we cannot abdicate our obligations to bring our concerted weight to bear to this same end, in that
forum which is particularly calculated to maximize our influence in the speedy resolution of this
and similar problems. We pledge our ceaseless efforts to the achievement of the independence of
the Algerian people, and we await impatiently the day when Algeria will take here rightful palce as
a free state in the community of nations.
|Angola poses a particular problem for us Africans who would now take into our own hands the |
determination of our own fate and the shaping of our own future. Again, We are confident that
within the four walls of the United Nations, Africans will secure the means whereby the people of
Angola will be enabled to stand among us as free people, and the Angola problem will be expunged
from the list of items which vex the conscience of the nations of the world.
The entire world has been saddened and disheartened by the recent bloodshed at Bizerta, where
gallant Tunisians died in seeking only to regain for their nation those last few acres of Tunisian soil
still dedicated to the maintenance of military bases. We sorrow that peaceful discussion failed to
lead to a peaceful evacuation of this base. While reaffirming the sovereignty and territorial
integrity of the nation of Tunisia over Bizerta, We urge those most intimately concerned to spare
no efforts that the further spilling of blood may be avoided, and We particularly urge that the
resolution adopted by the emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly last week be
On the continent of Africa, we have witnessed, during the past years, the sad spectacle of Africans
ranged against Africans in a struggle not of their own making, in which only Africans will be the
losers. Here, again, peace has largely been preserved through the efforts of the United Nations.
Ethiopia has contributed to the full extent of her resources to these endeavours to resolve this
problem through peaceful discussions, and Ethiopian soldiers serve in the Congo in ensuring the
United Nations presence there. We may all take encouragement in the considerable improvement
which recent developments have introduced into the situation there.
|As our gaze travels over the map of the world, we find no quarter wholly free from problems which |
threaten the preservation of the peace. In Laos, a conflict had raged which, even though localized,
carries with it far wider implications. We urge that the fourteen-nation conference which is even
now meeting in Geneva to settle this question reach a speedy decision which will restore to this
nation the serenity and tranquillity which it had earlier enjoyed.
Also in Southeast Asia, we find the problem involving the people of West Irian. Ethiopia has in the
past supported the position of Indonesia on this question before the United Nations and will
continue to do so.
When we speak of urgent problems, when we look to those regions most likely to emit the spark
whereby the conflagration of a general war threatening the destruction of us all may be ignited.
Our gaze is inexorably drawn to Berlin, an unhappy city, a city split in twain, a city divided against
itself and isolated from the rest of the German people by barriers far more compelling and
restraining than mere barbed wire or steel barricades. Among the many lamps signalling danger to
peace, that of Berlin glows most desperately, as if it would frantically attract thereby the attention
of all men devoted to the cause of peace.
|Where are we, the Non-Algined States, to turn in seeking the solution to Berlin? The Four Powers |
have this far proved themselves either unable, or incapable, or both, of arriving at an answer. But
this problem concerns us all; can we long allow it to be the sole responsibility, the monopoly, of
these four? Ethiopia supports the concept of a unified Germany. Ethiopia supports the principle of
free access to West Berlin. But if this is not enough, there is left to us only to ask, rather, to
demand, that this question be brought before the United Nations for resolution by it.
And so, again, We come to the United Nations. Is it inconsistent with Our own life or the principles
by which We have guided Our nation throughout Our lifetime that We should do so? Surely, a
nation as ill and cruelly served as was Ethiopia twenty-five years ago before the League of Nations,
another tribunal which claimed to act, as a single body, in the protection of the peace and the
preservation of the interests of its smallest and weakest member, should have profited by its error
Now, for us, for the small, the weak, the under-developed, there is nowhere else to go. If we turn to
one or another of the major power groups, we risk engorgement, that gradual process of
assimilation which destroys identity and personality. We must, by force of circumstances, look to
the United Nations, however imperfect, however deficient, to preserve the peace and to lend us its
support in our endeavours to secure a better life for our peoples, and we must concentrate our
efforts, little or great, to the achievement of its stated ends, for only thus can we secure our free
and continued existence.
|This is not a counsel of despair. Our own life has demonstrated that We are incapable of despair. |
Men will die in defence of principle; men will sacrifice their all rather than compromise themselves
and renounce that which distinguishes them form the beasts -- their moral faculty. If this force in
men can but be awakened and focused on the problems of each day, we shall, God willing, survive
each day to the dawn of each tomorrow, and in this survival guarantee to our children and our
children's children a lifetime of peace and security, under justice and right, and under God.
|Haile Selassie the First - September 3, 1961|