TO NAVAL CADETS
Until quite recently, we Ethiopians were giving as an excuse for the country’s retarded progress the fact that our seaports and territorial waters had been in foreign hands. Today, we have regained our coastal territory and our ports.
In order that no fear of any kind may exist regarding Our waters and to safeguard the smooth functioning of Our sea coasts, a Naval Force made up of Ethiopian Coast Guards and men has been established which is now well on its way. Therefore, the entire people of Ethiopia must keep themselves in readiness for work since We have no other reasons to give should Ethiopia’s progress lag behind from now onwards.
Since Our main aim and desire has been to see that self-help is attained in all respects, the ever-increasing number of trained young men graduating at home and abroad in various fields each year serves as concrete evidence that Our efforts in this line have been met with blessings signifying Our having reached the point of the desired goal. This is really praiseworthy. What is more satisfactory and a source of pride to any individual than the attainment of self-help?
Our hope would be fulfilled when, you Ethiopian members of the Naval Force, are capable through completing your studies in the shortest possible time, diligently to guard Our sea coasts and islands by using Our ships. The enemy should be checked from the beginning before going far and Our history is a good example demonstrating the arduous difficulty involved in driving out the enemy and the aftermath suffered thereby. It is for this reason that Our sea coasts should remain well guarded.
Since the best chance for one country to attack another comes through noting the weaknesses of the attacked and the division of its people within, We can through organizing Our defence forces to the maximum and by strengthening Our internal unity close all openings against the enemy. Our unity being Our formidable weapon of defence, it should be kept more strengthened than Our other forces of defence. Otherwise the manpower and defence weapons so organized will be used for the destruction of the beloved country in serving the enemy’s purpose.
In extending Our congratulations to all of you Cadets assembled here after completing your studies, We would like you to realize that the knowledge you have acquired so far is no end in itself but a reminder for the further responsibilities that await you. There should be no moment in any man’s life to seek rest after completing his education. You should not therefore overlook the fact that it is through ceaseless practice and experience and by training others that you would be able to prove your individual qualifications and worth.
We remind you therefore that you should utilize your whole thoughts and knowledge to the ultimate objective of moral satisfaction and the pride of your countrymen regardless of your personal interests. Your job takes care of you and there will not be any need to concern yourselves with your personal affairs.
We extend Our thanks to Commander Iskinder Desta who has helped you to reach the present stage and the entire members of the Naval Force and in particular the Norwegian officers and non-commissioned officers and other foreign nationals and We heartily thank the Government of the United States for its assistance. We wish that God will assist you in carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to you.
Jan. 21, 1963.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 66 –