|Kagnew Battalion and Collective Security|
Apr. 14, 1951
|... Of all the nations of the world the name of Ethiopia has been most closely associated with |
You are today on the point of leaving Ethiopia on a voyage half way around the world in defence of
liberty and of the principles to which all members of the United Nations stand committed.
We have personally come here in the presence of the highest officials of the nation which is
honouring you today and of representatives of other nations participating in this momentous
undertaking to bid you a fond farewell and Godspeed on your mission and to give to you
Regimental Colours. These flags you will carry in valour throughout the campaign. You will, We
are sure, bring them back to Your Emperor and Commander-in-Chief, to whom you have sworn
allegiance, as cherished battle standards, glorified by your exploits and heroism.
You have been called upon to represent amongst the armed forces of many friendly nations
engaged in the same high endeavour, the heritage of a people that, for untold centuries, has fiercely
fought to defend its freedom and independence. Everyone among you has known sacrifices in
recent years. In the dark hours when We and Our People were called upon to fight, We did not fail
in Our fierce resolve, and today, thanks to that determination, Ethiopia has again resumed her
rightful place amongst the United Nations. We have all earned the right to be proud of that
heritage of struggle.
We must recognize, then, that every nation that fights, as we have done, for the defence and
maintenance of its independence has the right to expect the honour and indeed the assistance of all
freedom-loving peoples. You are departing on a long crusade in defence of that very principle for
which we have so long fought -- freedom and respect for the freedom of others. With such
traditions and after such sacrifices, Ethiopia would be the very first nation to recognize the
imperative urgency of the call of duty towards a sister nation.
It is in yet a larger sense, Soldiers, that you are today leaving the homeland to fight on distant
shores. You are fighting not only for freedom as We know it in Ethiopia, and the right of each
people to its freedom. You are also representing and defending in far corners of the earth, the most
sacred principle of modern international policy -- that principle of collective security with which
the name of Ethiopia is imperishably associated.
It is but natural that small nations who must so vigilantly defend their independence, should
regard collective security as the cornerstone of their very existence. Their support of that principle
should be instant, unhesitating and absolute. No small state, no democratic nation, no people
imbuded with charity towards its fellow men, could do otherwise.
Of all nations of the world, the name of Ethiopia has been most closely associated with that
principle. Our undaunted defence of collective security at the League of Nations, Our own appeal
to that august body, Our fierce and un-aided struggles throughout the darkest hours preceding the
last World War, the courage of our patriots, the unending sacrifices of Our families, have given to
Ethiopia an imperishable place in the history of that principle in modern times.
|This is why, as Sovereign Head of Ethiopia and as Commander-in-Chief of the Ethiopian Armed |
Forces, We did not hesitate immediately to respond to the appeal for collective assistance
launched by the United Nations following the aggression in Korea.
From the first, it was evident that much time, effort and expense would be required to provide for
your participation in the combined front of the United Nations forces in Korea. Foreseeing those
inevitable difficulties, Ethiopia did not hesitate to provide instant assistance before even Our
military forces could be brought into the battle. That is why, not only did We promise military
assistance, but also immediately transmitted funds to the United Nations to help in the collective
Thus it is that you are now departing to take your honoured place beside the valiant soldiers of
other United Nations, those of the United States, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece,
Turkey and others.
At this proud moment of participation in the first collective and world-wide effort for the defence of
the principle of collective security, Ethiopia and Ourselves can look back with pride on the progress
achieved, progress to which Ethiopia has so heavily contributed in recent years. Precisely fifteen
years ago this very month, We, Your Emperor, and Commander-in-Chief, addressed from the
battlefield a pressing appeal to the League of Nations for the respect and application of the
principle of collective security. It was not a question then as now, even to hope for the application
of measures of military sanction. So new then was that principle that Ethiopia could only hope for
the most basic economic sanctions to restrict aggression, and urgent measures to bring to an end
the use of asphyxiating gas. However, it was also in that same month, fifteen years ago today, that
the Council of the League of Nations finally declared its inability to meet these essential
requirements of collective security. Undaunted by this failure, Ethiopia under Our leadership and
with the courage of its patriots continued the struggle until that glorious day when, at the head of
Our troops and with the aid of British Empire heroes, We re-entered Our Capital.
|Today, it is no longer a question of asking for simple economic sanctions. Korea asks the United |
Nations and receives from it collective security in the form of military assistance.
In joining today in these measures of collective security, We are being faithful to Ourselves and to
the obligation which We conceive to be the most high and solemn duty not alone of the present
hour, but of the present century. Collective security knows no bounds or distances. In
participating in the measures of collective security in the Far East, We are only fulfilling Our
obligations towards the United Nations. Just as previously, by the sending of financial assistance,
We had manifested Our sympathy towards the valiant people of China so sorely tried by natural
disasters, so today, We deplore the new hardships which that people has been called upon to
suffer as a result of the events in the Far East. Let us hope that peace and tranquillity may soon be
You have been fortunate, Soldiers, in that each one of you has been selected thus to testify before
the world to the flame of liberty and of devotion to the cause of international justice which has
fired the breasts of Our patriots.
You are following the footsteps of the long line of your forefathers in proclaiming before the world
the right of each nation, determined by its own efforts to save its independence and freedom, to
receive as collective security assistance of all peace-loving nations. Ethiopia could do no less today
and still remain faithful to her traditions and to the sacrifices which We have all undergone.
Soldiers, the spirit of your ancestors, heroes of the thousand-year-long struggle for the defence of
Our freedom will follow you and will strengthen your hands and hearts in the heat of battle.
Remember that you are about to pay a debt of honour for your homeland which was liberated
thanks not only to the blood of her patriots, but also to that of faithful allies, likewise members of
the United Nations. Remember also that in paying this debt, you are laying the basis for a universal
system of collective security on behalf of your own homeland as well as of nations of the world, be
they great of small, powerful or weak.
May God protect you, give you courage to acquit yourselves as heroes and bring you back safely to
your beloved homeland.
|Haile Selassie the First - April 14, 1951|