BANQUET IN HONOUR OF PRESIDENT NOVOTNY
President Antonin Novotny
and Madame Bozena Novotna.
It is Our great pleasure to greet this evening the leader of a great and friendly nation, a country with which Ethiopia has tong enjoyed close ties and with which a special sympathy and understanding exist. We take this opportunity to welcome Your Excellency and your wife to Ethiopia.
Seven years ago in response to Your Excellency’s invitation, We had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful country and the friendly people of Czechoslovakia. We vividly recall the warm and cordial welcome accorded to Us by the people of Czechoslovakia and members of your government. During Our visit We were able to witness the great achievements accomplished by your people in the field of science and technology. The bonds of friendship that so happily exist between Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia are of longstanding. During this period our two countries have co-operated in many fields both in times of war and peace.
Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia have much in common. Both our countries had a similar experience in the resistance against a cruel and merciless aggressor whose motive was to put our peoples under its colonial domination. During the dark hours Czechoslovakia was among the very few countries that courageously raised its voice in denouncing the invasion of Our country by the fascist aggressor. In doing so, Czechoslovakia gave Us support not only in upholding our rightful cause at the League of Nations but has also supported Us with the much needed arms and ammunitions for the defence of Our beloved country against the invader. In the early part of the post-war period, when We commenced to reorganize Our Armed Forces, it was from Czechoslovakia that We were able to purchase modern weapons to equip Our army. In view of this, can one expect greater friendship? All these manifest the prevalence of a long and profound friendship between our two countries.
Old True Friend
At present Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia are co-operating in many fields. The Government of Czechoslovakia is actively participating in the implementation of Our Five-Year Plan by providing Us with assistance. As a result of such co-operation the age-old relations that exist between our two countries have been strengthened. On this occasion We would like once again to reaffirm to Your Excellency that Ethiopia considers Czechoslovakia an old and a true friend. We wish to say here that in Our endeavours We strive not only for the progress and happiness of our countries and people but to humanity at large for the cause of world peace.
In Our age man has replaced his individualistic attitude by a larger cause, namely the good of society. This is encouraging. The method employed to achieve the social and economic objectives that each country sets for itself may differ. The cultural and historical background of each country accounts for this difference. A few years back, due to this economic and social difference the relations between countries had deteriorated to such an extent that men were fearful of a third world war. Today this fear has diminished and the people of the world are hopeful for a better and a more secure tomorrow. It is our duty to work for the realization of this noble objective.
In Our view differences in economic and social systems should not give rise to mistrust and misunderstanding among nations. On the contrary, We should accept diversity in culture and tradition and coexist peacefully. Though Your Excellency’s visit to Ethiopia is short, We are convinced that it will contribute to the promotion of this objective as well as further the long-standing friendship which exists between our two countries.
We are hopeful that Your Excellency’s stay in Our country will be a pleasant one. Let us, therefore, raise our glasses for His Excellency’s long life and happiness, that of Madame Novotna and for the continued progress and prosperity of our two peoples.
Nov. 15, 1966.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie - page 148 -