|Opening 3rd Session Of The Summit|
Nov. 06, 1966
|... Africa, like the rest of the world, is today, more than ever, passing through a transitional |
period from the Africa that was to the Africa that is to be. We have now begun to tread the
path of the future, and the task that we have set for ourselves to carry ut n building a better
and secure tomorrow for Africa is an arduous one.
|On behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, and also on Our behalf, We extend a warm |
welcome to you all who are gathered here today at this solemn meeting in Our capital.
We recall that three years ago we met in this hall to find ways and means of resolvings the
problems which then faced our continent. At that meeting which has become a great landmark in
the annals of African history, we succeeded to put aside our differences and unanimously adopted
and signed the historic document, the Charter of the Organization of African Unity.
In spite of obstacles, we have succeeded in establishing the Organizatino of African Unity. This we
have achieved because the unity which we seek stemmed from the deep convictin which the
people of Africa hold for the acceleration of their political, social and economic development. The
fact that we succeeded in laying the foundation of our unity was due primarily to the desire of all
Africans to unite in a common struggle against colonialism, poverty, disease and ignorance which
are enemies of Africa.
In order that what we have set for ourselves to carry out may be realized in its full signficance, and
so that the Charter does not remains a mere historical milestone, we should in concert continue to
work with the same vigour and dedication as we have done in the past. To this end, and in
accordance with the Charter, we ought to continue meeting once every year to review the year's
activities and to chart the course of action for the coming year. We should take it upon ourselves
to acquaint our peoples with the progress of our achievements and with the programmes of work
we set for the future.
The Charter of the Organization of African Unity has become the embodiment of all the aspirations
of the African peoples. Some of the great aims of the Charter include the fostering of unity and
solidarity among Member-States: the co-ordination of their efforts to raise the standard of living of
their people; the defence and preservation of their sovereignty, territorial integrity and
independence and the eradication of all forms of colonialism, and the promotion of international
Since May 1963 when the Organization of African Unity came into being, the Assembly of Heads of
State and Government met twice while the Council of Ministers met several times, in ordinary and
extraordinary sessions, to deal with Africa's political, economic, social and cultural problems.
We draw encourgagement from the important developments that have taken place in Africa and
frm the achievements recorded in various fields. Africa has come a long way on the road to
freedom and progress and has played an active role in the community of nations.
The conference We are opening today is yet another evidence, among many, of Our devotion and
dedication to the cause of our continent and its people. In this spirit, we shall continue to
discharge our duty to this continent for those two hundred and fifty million inhabitants for whom
we are responsible, and, at the same time endeavour not to fail to play an active role in world
|Africa, like the rest of the world, is today, more than over, passing through a transitional period |
from the Africa that was to the Africa that is to be. We have now begun to tread the path of the
future, and the task that we have set for ourselves to carry out in building a better and secure
tomorrow for Africa is an arduous one. Having emerged from a period of darkness, Africa is in the
process of becoming a totally free continent. Since the birth of Our Organization, the unity and
solidarity of Africa are steadily growning in strength. The voice of 250 million Africans now heard
at international gatherings is gaining momentum day by day. Nevertheless, if we wish to
strengthen our unity, we must overcome the factors that tend to balkanize and weaken our
When we met to establish our Organization, foreign circles went so far as to declare that African
unity was a dream that could not be realized. They assumed that Africa was torn in different
directions, bent by interstate feuds, and ventured to predict that instead of unity there would be
chaos and dissention. However, by our steadfastness and devotion to Africa's noble cause, we
have proved them wrong. The Organization of African Unity, having exerted all efforts to defend
with courage and conviction against the forces that undermine African unity, has emerged
We, Member States, should walk the path of African unity with unfaltering faith. Ethiopia, for her
part, will spare no effort to see to it that our solidarity and unity are maintained and strengthened.
Africa must speak with one voice ringing out in powerful, harmonious tones. Our Organization
provides us with suitable means of finding peaceful solutions to disputes arising among
Member-States. It enables us to examine and execute measures which are essential for the defence
of our continent and also helps us to adopt and undertake joint programmes of co-operation in
political, social, economic and cultural fields which are vital to Africa.
|In point of fact, the creation of the African Development Bank has given us a good basis for |
promoting economic co-operation. It is, therefore, in our interest to strengthen this institution and
likewise the economic ties that already exist among Member-States.
In the cultural field, Africa faces many problems, mainly, as a result of the poor level of education
and the lack of adequate contacts among its peoples. In view of this, great efforts must be made in
the fields of education -- a key to development -- so as to provide Africa with the professional and
qualified technicians needed for its advancement.
Bearing in mind the speed with which the Organization of African Unity has developed, and
anxious to further strengthen it with the rest of the Member-States, Ethiopia shall contribute her
share in giving every consideration so that the human as well as the material resources available to
the Organization are wisely and effectively utilized. The resources at the disposal of the
Organization should be evaluated in terms of the relative needs and mutual usefulness to the
Member-States. Particular care must also be taken to avoid embarking upon costly projects for
which Member-States have neither the necessary financial resources nore adequate technicians.
Caution is necessary, lest such ambitious programmes may result in failure, which in turn would
cause loss of interest and shake the confidence of Member-States in the Organization of African
Unity. In this connection, the special committee which has been entrusted with the task of
studying the problems facing the various branches of the Organization has submitted its
recommendation and it deserves to be closely examined by all Member-States.
Today, the main problems that should concern us most and engage our attention are: the defence
of Africa's freedom, the liberation of our brothers who are still under colonial rule, the promotion
of economic and social progress and the efficient and effective exploitation of our natural
resources, the broadening of our respective systems of national education, the development of the
health and well-being of our peoples and the safeguarding of the interests of Africa by taking
concerted actions both in the political and economic fields.
|In spite of great handicaps, the process of decolonization continues. In this connection, we should |
like to congratulate the two new independent States of Botsswana and Lesotho on their attainment
of independence and welcome their membership to our Organization. We are confident that these
two African sister States will contribute their share to the enterprise and endeavours of our
Organization. We are well aware of the very special geographical and political situation in which
these two States are placed. The Organization of African Unity should give them political and
moral support and, in concert with the United Nations Organization, guarantee their independence
As far as the question of colonialism is concerned, Ethiopia's stand is clear. In accordance with her
ideals of freedom, Ethiopia today, as in the past, is committed to defend the rights of the
oppressed. Ethiopia has and shall continue to strive for the complete eradication of racial
discrimination from the African Continent. She is fully aware that racial discrimination means the
negation of the moral equality of all men and the deprivation of the African of his dignity and
personality. As long as apartheid is practised in South Africa. Africa will have to continue to
intensify her opposition until that scourge is totally annihilated from our continent. Though
apartheid, that most repugnant and inhuman system of oppression that man has ever known, is
still being unscrupulously practised by the government of South Africa, yet those countries that can
bring pressure to bear upon it economically have refused to do so. We therefore appeal to these
countries to discontinue their trade with South Africa, until such a time when that country changes
its policy and grants its inhabitants their freedom.
|Case of South-West Africa|
|For a number of years now the problem of South-West Africa has become the major concern of the |
African countries. Liberia and Ethiopia, as former members of the League of Nations, acting on
behalf of all the African States, had sued South Africa for violating her mandate in South-West
Africa by introducing the policy of apartheid into that territory and by failing in her obligation to
promote the interest of the African population.
After six years of litigation, the International Court of Justice decided that the two States did not
establish legal status in the case to stand before the Court, thus reversing its judgment of
jurisdiction given in 1962. This unfortunate decision has profoundly shaken the high hopes that
mankind had placed in the International Court of Justice. The faith man had that justice can be
rendered is shattered and the cause of Africa betrayed.
Having failed in preparing the people of South-West Africa for independence, South Africa has
betrayed the trust given to it by the League of Nations. In view of this and its stubborn refusal to
carry out the resolutions of the United Nations in this connection, it becomes all the more
appropriate to terminate South Africa's mandate over the territory. Mindful of this, We heartily
welcome the recent decision of the United Nations which revoked South Africa's mandate over
South-West Africa and thus placing it instead under its own administration. On this occasion We
would like to congratulate all Member States of the United Natios which supported the resolution
and especially the two great powers, the Unites States and the Soviet Union.
|In Rhodesia, the situation has deteriorated. A year ago, a foreign white minority declared |
unilateral independence. By so doing, the illegal regime condemmed the African majority to
servitude. After the illegal declaration of independence, the Government of the United Kingdom,
the authority administering that colony, announced the application of economic sanctions against
the rebel regime to force it to return to the rule of law. It was obvious that the sanctions imposed
would prove to be ineffective. Faced withsuch a situation, the Government of the United Kingdom
was urged to use force, if necessary, to quell the rebellion. Unfortunately, the British Government
so far displayed reluctance to use force.
Since the economic and political sanctions imposed by Great Britain have proved ineffective so far,
We are convinced that if future dangerous developments in the very heart of Africa are to be
avoided, the Government of the United Kingdom should put down the illegal regime in Rhodesia by
all means at its disposal including the use of force.
It is our duty to help the freedom fighters of Zimbabwe to intensify their struggle to liberate their
country. On this occasion, we could reassure them of our continued support. We would like to
take this opportunity to convey Our sincere congratulations to President Kenneth Kaunda and the
Government of the Republic of Zambia for their efforts and sacrifices in the struggle for the
liberation of the people of Zimbabwe.
The Government of Portugal stubbornly holds on to the outmoded concept of regarding its African
colonial territories as Portuguese overseas provinces. Portugal has incessantly oppressed the
African nationalists and has constantly challenged the many resolutions adopted by the United
Nations and or own Organization, calling upon her to grant independence to her colonies. We
should therefore continue the struggle until the Government of Portugal succumbs to the
inevitability of granting independence to her colonies. We should refrain form supplying Portugal
We are specially concerned about the Territory of Djibouti. Everyone is aware of the geographical,
ethnical and economical ties that bind the Territory of Djibouti with Ethiopia. Since we have
already expressed Our views on this matter on several occasions in detail, We shall not dwell on it
at this point.
|At this juncture, We wish to give due regard to problems that affect world peace. In this |
connection, We refer to the situation in South-East Asia. The Vietnam question continues to
engage the attention of the whole world. If the present situation persists, it will have incalculable
consequences. We should therefore appeal to all parties concerned to agree to a "cease-fire" and
negotiate a settlement on the basis of the 1954 Geneva Agreement.
It is with sadness that We recall here the recent unfortunate incident of the Guinea delegation, led
by its Foreign Minister while enroute to Addis Ababa. Upon learning this news and noting the
seriousness of the matter We sent within hours one of Our Cabinet Ministers to Accra and Conakry
with a view to obtaining the release of the delegation so as to enable them to proceed to Addis
Ababa. Similarly, the Council of Ministers of our Organization considering the gravity of this
question despatched a three-man delegatios of both Accra and Congkry. It was Our expressed
hope that their efforts would achieve fruitful results and consequently enable the Guinea
delegation to participate in the present Session of the O.A. U. However, all attempts made so far
being in vain, it is, therefore, necessary for us to take this matter as an important item for our
The agenda we have before us is a very important one. We pray that our deliberations may
proceed in an atmosphere of harmony and understanding, and We ask the Almighty God for His
guidance in this regard.
|Haile Selassie the First - November 6, 1966|