ADDRESS AT THE NEW YEAR
As we contemplate the Ethiopian New Year, 1958, We cannot avoid thanking the Almighty for his innumerable blessings bestowed upon Us and the Ethiopian people in the year that has just passed. Nor can We escape thinking of the problems faced and overcome, those existing at present and those anticipated in man’s unending march forward in the search for peace, progress, and prosperity.
Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people have passed another year in their successful striving for a better life, and an inventory of the past year makes Us confident of continuing achievements in this New Year and the years ahead. This is so because the foundations that we have laid and that we continue to lay as we travel the high road of progress assure the stability and resilience of a superstructure that under modern Ethiopianism We are committed to build. The splendid co-operation and collaboration among our people and their steadfast striving for education and enlightenment bring to mind those proverbial busy workers – the bees – which combine their efforts and work for the common good.
The task of nation-building is one that involves generations – the duty of each succeeding to consolidate the gains made by its predecessor. The Ethiopian people have demonstrated this awareness, so that in the manifold areas of the nation’s life, with their eyes fixed on the future, they continue to conquer new frontiers year after year. Our people shall never lack the solicitude and guidance which We pledged from the day We assumed leadership and the sustaining of which history has thus far eloquently vindicated. The desire and eagerness of our people to work together and their keen interest to improve the general welfare of the nation have been a great source of satisfaction to Us. Much has been accomplished, but more remains to be achieved.
In her international dealings Ethiopia has adhered to the guiding principles of non-alignment, friendship, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. These general principles which Ethiopia follows in accord with other states, embrace her relations with all nations near and far. In Africa, under the umbrella of a continental family, Ethiopia has scrupulously followed these principles – the basis of good neighbourly relations.
Ethiopia covets not the territory or possession of others; conversely, she stands ready always to defend her sovereign right against the malicious designs of others.
For Ethiopia, however, peace is priceless; it has become traditional; this had been so in the years past, in 1957, and will be so in this New Year, 1958. The role of Ethiopia in the United Nations, in the Organization of African Unity and in the Afro-Asian Conference is founded on the open avowal that peace is the keynote to progress, prosperity and even human survival. Unless the desire for peace is expressed in terms of concrete achievements and thus give a sense of assurance and serenity to humanity, mere pious hope constitutes only self-delusion.
Thus our minds turn to the Twentieth Session of the United Nations General Assembly to convene within the next ten days; to the Afro-Asian Conference in Algiers and the African Summit Assembly of the OAU to be held in Accra.
Ethiopia recently proposed that all Heads of State and Government should personally attend the forthcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly to exert their collective influence in finding ways and means to restore peace in the trouble spots of the world. The participation of Heads of State and Government at the United Nations Assembly would help maintain international peace and security.
Ethiopia intends to play her full part in the forthcoming international conclaves. Her principal and over-riding desire is to help strengthen the forces of peace and human progress. She has never flinched nor will ever flinch from her responsebility as an active member of the international community. In greater measure, Ethiopia will continue to support the campaign to end colonialism and will continue to do so until all dependent territories in Africa and elsewhere breathe the clean air of freedom and independence.
The former colonial territories, which have now attained independence and freedom, are today beset by the residues of colonialism. Even if those former colonial territories had benefited in some respects from the colonial administration, these states have inherited people divided unto themselves – the result of the divide-and-rule policies of the colonial era. This has become a cancerous disease which is spreading fast with the effect of not only pitting brother against brother but also endangering international peace and security. These are some of the reasons which have prompted Us to propose that all Heads of State and Government should attend the forthcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly to work out concrete proposals for the eradication of this evil colonial heritage, thriving under different guises.
For the New Year, it is Our wish that the Ethiopian people continue to march forward; that peace will be restored in areas that are disturbed by conflict, and that the Almighty will continue to bless all efforts in creating a better life for Our people and all the peoples in the world.
Sept. 11, 1965.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 477 –