Chapter V
United Nations International
UCI ~ I See You
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Address To The United Nations
Oct. 06, 1963
Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates:

Twenty-seven years ago, as Emperor of Ethiopia, I mounted the rostrum in Geneva, Switzerland, to
address the League of Nations and to appeal for relief from the destruction which had been
unleashed against my defenceless nation by the Fascist invader.

I spoke then both to and for the conscience of the world.  My words went unheeded, but history
testifies to the accuracy of the warning that I gave in 1936.

Today, I stand before the world organization which has succeeded to the mantle discarded by its
discredited predecessor.  In this body is enshrined the principle of collective security which I
unsuccessfully invoked at Geneva.  Here, in this Assembly, reposes the best -- perhaps the last --
hope for the peaceful survival of mankind.

In 1936, I declared that it was not the Covenant of the League that was a stake, but international
morality.  Undertakings, I said then, are of little worth if the will to keep them is lacking.

The Charter of the United Nations expresses the noblest aspirations of man:  abjuration of force in
the settlement of disputes between states; the assurance of human rights and fundamental
freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, religion; the safeguarding of international peace
and security.

But these, too, as were the phrases of the Covenant, are only words; their value depends wholly on
our will to observe and honour them and give them content and meaning.

The preservation of peace and the guaranteeing of man's basic freedoms and rights require
courage and eternal vigilance:  courage to speak and act -- and if necessary, to suffer and die -- for
truth and justice; eternal vigilance, that the least transgression of international morality shall not
go undetected and unremedied.  These lessons must be learned anew by each succeeding
generation, and that generation is fortunate indeed which learns from other than its own bitter
experience.  This Organization and each of its members bear a crushing and awesome
responsibility:  to absorb the wisdom of history and to apply it to the problems of the present, in
order that future generations may be born, and live, and die, in peace.
U.N. Basis For Hope
The record of the United Nations during the few short years of its life affords mankind a solid basis
for encouragement and hope for the future.  The United Nations has dared to act, when the League
dared not -- in Palestine, in Korea, in Suez, in the Congo.  There is not one among us today who
does not conjecture upon the reaction of this body when motives and actions are called into
question.  The opinion of this Organization today acts as a powerful influence upon the decisions of
its members.  The spotlight of world opinion, focused by the United Nations upon the
transgressions of the renegades of human society, has thus far proved an effective safeguard
against unchecked aggression and unrestricted violation of human rights.

The United Nations continues to serve as the forum where nations whose interests clash may lay
their cases before world opinion.  It still provides the essential escape valve without which the
slow build-up of pressures would have long since resulted in catastrophic explosion.  Its actions
and decisions have speeded the achievement of freedom by many peoples on the continents of
Africa and Asia.  Its efforts have contributed to the advancement of the standard of living of peoples
in all corners of the world.

For this, all men must give thanks.  As I stand here today, how faint, how remote, are the memories
of 1936.  How different in 1963 are the attitudes of men.  We then existed in an atmosphere of
suffocating pessimism.  Today, cautious yet buoyant optimism is the prevailing spirit.

But each one of us here knows that what has been accomplished is not enough.  The United
Nations judgments have been and continue to be subject to frustration, as individual
member-states have ignored its pronouncements and disregarded its recommendations.  The
Organization's sinews have been weakened, as member states have shirked their obligations to it.  
The authority of the Organization has been mocked, as individual member-states have proceeded,
in violation of its commands, to pursue their own aims and ends.  The troubles which continue to
plague us virtually all arise among member states of the Organization, but the Organization
remains impotent to enforce acceptable solutions.  As the maker and enforcer of the international
law, what the United Nations has achieved still falls regrettably short of our goal of an international
community nations.

This does not mean that the United Nations has failed.  I have lived too long to cherish many
illusions about the essential high-mindedness of men when brought into stark confrontation with
the issue of control over their security, and their property interests.  Not even now, when so much
is at hazard would many nations willingly entrust their destinies to other hands.

Yet, this is the ultimatum presented to us:  secure the conditions whereby men will entrust their
security to a larger entity, or risk annihilation; persuade men that their salvation rests in the
subordination of national and local interests to the interests of humanity, or endanger man's
future.  These are the objectives, yesterday unobtainable, today essential, which we must labour to
achieve.

Until this is accomplished, mankind's future remains hazardous and permanent peace a matter for
speculation.  There is no single magic formula, no one simple step, no words, whether written into
the Organization's Charter or into a treaty between states, which can automatically guarantee to us
what we seek.  Peace is a day-to-day problem, the product of a multitude of events and judgments.  
Peace is not an "is", it is a "becoming."  We cannot escape the dreadful possibility of catastrophe by
miscalculation.  But we can reach the right decisions on the myriad subordinate problems which
each new day poses, and we can thereby make our contribution -- and perhaps the most that can
be reasonably expected of us in 1963 -- to the preservation of peace.

It is here that the United Nations has served us -- not perfectly, but well.  And in enhancing the
possibilities that the Organization may serve us better, we serve and bring closer our most
cherished goals.
Issues of Deep Concern
I would mention briefly today two particular issues which are of deep concern to all men:  
disarmament and the establishment of true equality among men.

Disarmament has become the urgent imperative of our time, I do not say this because I equate the
absence of arms to peace, or because I believe that bringing an end to the nuclear arms race
automatically guarantees the peace, or because the elimination of nuclear warheads from the
arsenals of the world will bring in its wake that change in attitude requiste to the peaceful
settlement of disputes between nations.  Disarmament is vital today, quite simply, because of the
immense destructive capacity of which men dispose.

Ethiopia supports the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty as a step towards this goal, even though
only a partial step.  Nations can still perfect weapons of mass destruction by underground testing.  
There is no guarantee against the sudden, unannounced resumption of testing in the atmosphere.

The real significance of the treaty is that it admits of a tacit stalemate between the nations which
negotiated it, a stalemate which recognizes the blunt, unavoidable fact that none would emerge
from the total destruction which would be the lot of all in a nuclear war, a stalemate which affords
us and the United Nations a breathing space in which to act.
Opportunity And Challenge
Here is our opportunity and our challenge.  If the nuclear powers are prepared to declare a truce,
let us seize the moment to strengthen the institutions and precedures which serve as the means for
the pacific settlement of disputes among men.

Conflicts between nations will continue to arise.  The real issue is whether they are to be resolved
by force, or by resort to peaceful methods and procedures, administered by impartial institutions.  
This very Organization itself is the greatest such institution, and it is in a more powerful United
Nations that we seek, and it is here that we shall find, the assurance of a peaceful future.

Were a real and effective disarmament achieved and the funds now spent in the arms race devoted
to the amelioration of man's state; were we to concentrate only on the peaceful uses of nuclear
knowledge, how vastly and in how short a time might we change the conditions of mankind.  This
should be our goal.

When we talk of the equality of man, we find, also, a challenge and an opportunity; a challenge to
breathe new life into the ideals enshrined in the Charter, an opportunity to bring men closer to
freedom and true equality, and thus, closer to a love of peace.

The goal of the equality of man which we seek is the antithesis of exploitations of one people by
another with which the pages of history and in particular those written of the African and Asian
continents, speak at such length.

Exploitation, thus viewed, has many faces.  But whatever guise it assumes, this evil is to be
shunned where it does not exist and crushed where it does.  It is the sacred duty of this
Organization to ensure that the dream of equality is finally realized for all men to whom it is still
denied, to guarantee that exploitation is not reincarnated in other forms in places whence it has
already been banished.

As a free Africa has emerged during the past decade, a fresh attack has been launched against
exploitation, wherever it still exists.  And in that interaction so common to history, this in turn, has
stimulated and encouraged the remaining dependent peoples to renewed efforts to throw off the
yoke which has oppressed them and to claim as their birthright the twin ideals of liberty and
equality.

This very struggle is a struggle to establish peace, and until victory is assured, that brotherhood
and understanding which nourish and give life to peace can be but partial and incomplete.

In the United States of America, the administration of President Kennedy is leading a vigorous
attack to eradicate the remaining vestige of racial discrimination from the county.  We know that
this conflict will be won and that the right will triumph.  In this time of trial, these efforts should be
encouraged and assisted, and we should lend our sympathy and support to the American
Government today.
Will and Determination
Last May, in Addis Ababa, I convened a meeting of Heads of African States and Governments.  In
three dayss, the thirty-two nations represented at the Conference demonstrated to the world that
when the will and the determination exist, nations and peoples of diverse backgrounds can and
will work together, in unity, to the achievement of common goals and the assurance of that
equality and brotherhood which we desire.

On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will
learn, this further lesson:

That until the philosphy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and
permanently discredited and abandoned;

That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation;

That until the colour of man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes;

That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race;

That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of
international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained;

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique
and in South Africa in sub-human bondage have been toppled and destroyed;

Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by
understanding and tolerance and good-will;

Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the
eyes of Heaven;

Until that day, the African continent will not know peace.  We Africans will fight, if necessary,
and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.
U.N. Must Be Strengthened
If we are to survive, this Organization must survive.  To survive, it must be strengthened.  Its
executive must be vested with greater authority.  The means for the enforcement of its decisions
must be fortified, and, if they do not exist, the must be devised.  Procedures must be established to
protect the small and the weak when threatened by the strong and the mighty.  All nations which
fulfil the conditions of membership must be admitted and allowed to sit in this assemblage.  
Equality of representation must be assured in each of its organs.  The possibilities which exist in
the United Nations to provide the medium whereby the hungry may be fed, the naked clothed, the
ignorant instructed, must be seized on and exploited for the flower of peace is not sustained by
poverty and want.

To achieve this requires courage and confidence.  The courage, I believe, we possess.  The
confidence must be created, and to create confidence we must act courageously.

The great nations of the world would do well to remember that in the modern age even their own
fates are not wholly in their hands.  Peace demands the united efforts of us all.  Who can foresee
what spark might ignite the fuse?  It is not only the small and the weak who must scrupulously
observe their obligations to the United Nations and to each other.  Unless the small nations are
accorded their proper voice in the settlement of the world's problems, unless the equality which
Africa and Asia have struggled to attain is reflected in expanded membership in the institutions
which make up the United Nations, confidence will come just that much harder.  Unless the rights
of the least of men are as assiduously protected as those of the greatest, the seeds of confidence
will fall on barren soil.

The stake of each one of us is identical -- life or death.  We all wish to live.  We all seek a world in
which men are freed of the burdens of ignorance, poverty, hunger and disease.  And we shall be
hard-pressed to escape the deadly rain of nuclear fall-out should catastrophe overtake us.
Ultimate Challenge
When I spoke at Geneva in 1936, there was no precedent for a head of state addressing the League
of Nations.  I am neither the first, nor will I be the last head of state to address the United Nations,
but only I have addressed both the League and this Organization in this capacity.

The problems which confront us today are, equally, unprecedented.  They have no counterparts in
human experience.  Men search the pages of history for solutions, for precedents, but there are
none.

This, then, is the ultimate challenge.  Where are we to look for our survival, for the answers to the
questions which have never before been posed?

We must look, first, to Almighty God, Who has raised man above the animals and endowed him
with intelligence and reason.  We must put our faith in Him, that He will not desert us or permit us
to destroy humanity which He created in His image.

We must look into ourselves, into the depth of our souls.  We must become something we have
never been and for which our education and experience and environment have ill-prepared us.  We
must become bigger than we have been, more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook.  We
must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance
not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.
Haile Selassie the First - July 21, 1964