REPLIES TO PRES. TUBMAN'S TOAST
We thank Your Excellency for the warm and cordial sentiments which you have expressed on Our behalf and on that of Our people. Ethiopia and Liberia are old and respected friends, and it is fitting and proper that the leaders of these two nations should entertain for one another feelings of warm and deep friendship and that their peoples, united by these ties of mutual respect and admiration, should equally partake of these feelings.
We need not set forth in detail the long history of acquaintance between our two states which has brought their relations to the high level which they today enjoy. Long before much of this great continent of Africa was known to the outside world, Ethiopia and Liberia stood as twin symbols of independence, one in West Africa, the second on the other side of the continent, and the flame of freedom which these two states held high, flickering faintly at the outset, then growing in intensity, has swept from East to West, from North to South, and today it illuminates every corner of this vast land. History will attach high importance to the example of Liberia and Ethiopia, who demonstrated that Africans can and must be free, in accounting for the tide which is today sweeping colonialism and oppression from this continent.
In particular are We mindful of the sympathetic and fruitful co-operation which has marked relations between Ethiopia and Liberia at the United Nations. Ethiopia’s cause has been that of Liberia; Liberia’s cause that of Ethiopia, and We could ask for no greater blessing than that relations between our two countries will be maintained on this same high plane. This We are confident will be the case.
This same spirit of collaboration on problems of mutual concern is continuing at an accelerated pace today in the policies which these two African states are pursuing to the end of eradicating racial discrimination, that ignoble and most infamous of prejudices, from the face of the earth. Ethiopia and Liberia are today pressing a legal action before the International Court of Justice at the Hague, for the lifting of the mandate held by the Republic of South Africa over the territory of South-West Africa. We re-affirm here now our determination to pursue this course to its successful conclusion.
And, in the crisis in the Congo, in the efforts which We have made to find an amicable and just solution to the vexing problems which exist in that newly independent country, We have counted Ourself fortunate in the wholehearted co-operation of Your Excellency and in the sagacity and judgment which you have brought to this problem. The Congo represents, first and foremost, a problem for Africans, and it is Africans who must, putting aside superficial differences, collaborate in unity to restore order in the Congo, to ensure its territorial integrity, and to prevent the insinuation into the Congo, in whatever guise, of the colonialist influences of which the Congolese people have sought to rid themselves.
We look forward with calm confidence to yet further improvements in relations between us, and We hope that one of the results of the visit which We are paying to this great nation will be the taking of further measures to expand and broaden contacts between us. The initiation of direct air travel between Ethiopia and Liberia will, We hope, do much to facilitate the interchange of ideas, people and goods, and it is in this spirit that We desire that relations with Liberia grow and develop.
For, it is this development that leads to the strength of economy and mutual assistance.
Dec. 7, 1960.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie - page 210 –