|ON THE BEGINNINGS OF AFRICAN UNITY TO THE ACCRA CONFERENCE |
(Conference of Independent African States)
The convening of the Conference of Independent African States in Ghana, where responsible
statesmen representing a free government are gathering to consider common problems, is a great
and momentous event.
As an integral part of the African Continent, Ethiopia looks back with pride to the role which she
has played in the history of the development of Africa, and looks forward with confidence to the
future of this great continent.
In her long and glorious history, Ethiopia, has time and again, had to struggle against
overwhelming odds to preserve intact her traditional freedom and independence and to guarantee
from generation to generation the right of free men to work out their own destiny without
interference or hindrance. The world is only now coming to realize what Ethiopia and Africa have
long recognized, that peace, independence and the prosperity of mankind can be achieved and
assured only by the collective and united efforts of free men who are prepared to maintain eternal
vigilance and labour unceasingly to protect these most precious of God's gifts. The sympathy and
support which Ethiopia received from other African peoples when she was invaded twenty-three
years ago is ample testimony of the strong sentiments which unite all free African countries.
In our own lifetime the world has undergone changes more sweeping and striking than those seen
during any similar period in history. Technical and scientific advances have combined to raise
mankind to a level of material achievement never before realized. It is the duty and responsibility
of the Independent African States to further this developed and to bring the benefits of modern
civilization to increasingly large numbers of people in Africa.
However, as man's capacity to improve his own lot has grown, so has his power to spread havoc
and destruction correspondingly increased. The Independent African States must assure that the
growing weight of Africa is enlisted on the side of peace and justice to the end of avoiding a third
holocaust which could well engulf the entire world and result in the total destruction of mankind.
But dwarfing even man's material achievements in the twentieth century has been the emergence
of peoples all over the world into freedom and independence. Today, for the first time, men
everywhere to whom freedom and independence were, but a short time ago, only words, and for
whom economic and political self-determination were no more than far-distant goals, have
achieved the status of free men and are directing their efforts and energies to their own
advancement. We are particularly gratified and proud that this development has been so marked
and widespread on the great continent of Africa. Africa will no longer be the "unknown continent",
for its human and material resources are beyond measure, and this great continent now stands on
the verge of an economic, political and cultural development which, when realized, will be without
parallel in history.
In this development, Ethiopia will have its own particular, and we feel, important role to play. It is
for this reason that we have charged Our beloved Son Prince Sahle Selassie with the high mission
to be Our personal representative and the head of the Ethiopian Delegation to the Conference of
Independent African States. Ethiopia knows how hard-won is independence and how vital it is that
men be jealous of their freedom and be ever prepared to defend it. Ethiopia knows, as her history
has taught her, that the world is small, and that co-operation among all nations of the world, East
and West alike, is not only possible and desirable, but indispensible for the welfare of mankind.
Ethiopia knows that the willingness of the Independent States of Africa to co-operate and work
together in solving their common problems and achieving their common goals is essential to the
continued progress of the African peoples.
It is a propitious omen for the future that at this very moment the free nations of Africa are giving
tangible evidence of their determination to work together not only for their own good but for the
good of Africa and the entire world. The task is great. It demands wise judgment and
statesmanship of the highest order. It requires unceasing labour, a dedication to fundamental
principles and objectives and a determination to overcome all obstacles, however large. He who
suffers conquers, and in the final resort, wins the crown of victory. We pray that Almighty God will
bless the Conference with strength and wisdom and crown
its efforts with success.
April 15, 1958