H.I.M. Utterance
A Call To African Leaders
A Call To African Leaders - 1963 Summit
May 25, 1963
Chapter III
...Let us not put off, to later consideration and study, the single act, the one decision, which must emerge from
this gathering if it is to have real meaning.  This Conference cannot close without adopting a single African
We welcome to Ethiopia in Our name and in the name of the Ethiopian Government and people, the
Heads of State and Government of independent African nations who are today assembled in solemn
conclave in Ethiopia's capital city.  This Conference, without parallel in history, is an impressive
testimonial to the devotion and dedication of which we all partake in the cause of our mother continent
and that of her sons and daughters.  This is  indeed a momentous and historic day for Africa and for all

We stand today on the stage of world affairs, before the audience of world opinion.  We have come
together to assert our role in the direction of world affairs and to discharge our duty to the great
continent whose two hundred and fifty million people we lead.  Africa is today at mid-course in transition
from the Africa of Yesterday to the Africa of Tomorrow.  Even as we stand here, we move from the past
into the future.  The task on which we have embarked, the making of Africa, will not wait.  We must act, to
shape and mould the future and leave our imprint on events as they slip past into history.
To Chart A Course
We seek, at this meeting, to determine whither we are going and to chart the course of our destiny.  It is
no less important that we know whence we came.  An awareness of our past is essential to the
establishment of our personality and our identity as Africans.

This world was not created piecemeal.  Africa was born no later and no earlier than any other
geographical area on this globe.  Africans, no more and no less than other men, possess all human
attributes, talents and deficiencies, virtues and faults.  Thousands of years ago, civilizations flourished in
Africa which suffer not at all by comparison with those other continents.  In those centuries, Africans
were politically free and economically independent.  Their social patterns were their own cultures truly

The obscurity which enshrouds the centuries which elapsed between those earliest days and the
rediscovery of Africa are being gradually dispersed.  What is certain is that during those long years
Africans were born, lived and died.  Men on other parts of this earth occupied themselves with their own
concerns and, in their conceit, proclaimed that the world began and ended at their horizons.  All unknown
to them, Africa developed in its own pattern, growing in its own life and in the Nineteenth Century, finally
re-emerged into the world's consciousness.
Fettered and Bound
The events of the past hundred and fifty years require no extended recitation from Us.  The period of
colonialism into which we were plunged culminated with our continent fettered and bound; with our
once proud and free peoples reduced to humiliation and slavery; with Africa's terrain cross-hatched and
checker-boarded by artificial and arbitrary boundaries.  Many of us, during those bitter years, were
overwhelmed in battle, and those who escaped conquest did so at the cost of desperate resistance and
bloodshed.  Others were sold into bondage as the price extracted by the colonialists for the "protection"
which they extended and the possessions of which they disposed.  Africa was a physical resource to be
exploited and Africans were chattels to be purchased bodily or, at best, peoples to be reduced to
vassalage and lackey hood.  Africa was the market for the produce of other nations and the source of the
raw materials with which their factories were fed.

Today, Africa has emerged from this dark passage.  Our Armageddon is past.  Africa has been reborn as a
free continent and Africans have been reborn as free men.  The blood that was shed and the sufferings
that were endured are today Africa's advocates for freedom and unity.  Those men who refused to accept
the judgement passed upon them by the colonizers, who held unswervingly through the darkest hours to
a vision of an Africa emancipated from political, economic, and spiritual domination will be remembered
and revered wherever Africans meet.  Many of them never set foot on this continent.  Others were born,
and died here.  What we may utter today can add little to the heroic struggle of those who, by their
example, have shown us how precious are freedom and human dignity and of how little value is life
without them.  Their deeds are written in history.
Supreme Effort
Africa's victory, although proclaimed, is not yet total, and areas of resistance still remain.  Today, We
name as our first great task the final liberating of those Africans still dominated by foreign exploitation
and control.  With the goal in sight, and unqualified triumph within our grasp, lest us not now falter or lag
or relax.  We must make one final supreme effort; now, when the struggle grows, weary when so much has
been won that the thrilling sense of achievement has brought us near satiation.  Our liberty is
meaningless unless all Africans are free.  Our brothers in the Rhodesia, in Mozambique, in Angola in South
Africa cry out in anguish for our support and assistance.  We must urge on their behalf their peaceful
accession to independence.  We must align and identify ourselves with all aspects of their struggle.  It
would be betrayal were we to pay only lip service to the cause of their liberation and fail to back our
words with action.  To them we say, your pleas shall not go unheeded.  The resources of Africa and of all
freedom-loving nations are marshaled in your service.  Be of good heart, for your deliverance is at hand.

As we renew our vow that all of Africa shall be free, let us also resolve that old wounds shall be healed and
past scars forgotten.  It was thus that Ethiopia treated the invader nearly twenty-five years ago, and
Ethiopians found peace with honour in this course.  Memories of past injustice should not divert us from
the more pressing business at hand.  We must live in peace with our former colonizers, shunning
recrimination and bitterness and forswearing the luxury of vengeance and retaliation, lest the acid of
hatred erode our souls and poison our hearts.  Let us act as befits the dignity which we claim for
ourselves as Africans, proud of our own special qualities, distinctions and abilities.  Our efforts as free
men must be to establish new relationships, devoid of any resentment and hostility, restored to our
belief and faith in ourselves as individuals, dealing on a basis of equality with other equally free peoples.
Free and United
Today, we look to the future calmly, confidently and courageously.  We look to the vision of an Africa not
merely free but united.  In facing this new challenge we can take comfort and encouragement from the
lessons of the past.  We know that there are differences among us.  Africans enjoy different cultures,
distinctive values, special attributes.  But we also know that unity can be and has been attained among
men of the most disparate origins, that differences of race, of religion, of culture, of tradition, are no
insuperable obstacle to the coming together of peoples.  History teaches us that unity is strength and
cautions us to submerge and overcome our differences in the quest for common goals, to strive, with all
our combined strength, for the path to true African brotherhood and unity.

There are those who claim that African unity is impossible that the forces that pull us, some in this
direction, others in that, are too strong to be overcome.  Around us there is no lack of doubt and
pessimism, no absence of critics and criticism.  These speak of Africa, of Africa's future and of her
position in the Twentieth Century in sepulchral tones.  They predict dissension and disintegration among
Africans and internecine strife and chaos on our continent.  Let us confound these and, by our deeds,
disperse them in confusion.  There are others whose hopes for Africa are bright, who stand with faces
upturned in wonder and awe at the creation of a new and happier life, who have dedicated themselves to
its realization and are spurred on by the example of their brothers to whom they owe the achievements
of Africa's past.  Let us reward their trust and merit their approval.
Accepted Goal
The road of African unity is already lined with landmarks.  The last years are crowded with meetings, with
conferences with declarations and pronouncements.  Local groupings based on common interests,
backgrounds and traditions have been created.

But though all that has been said and written and done in these years, there runs a common theme.  Unity
is the accepted goal.  We argue about means; we discuss alternative paths to the same objective; we
engage in debates about techniques and tactics.

But when semantics are stripped away, there is little argument among us.  We are determined to create a
union of Africans.  In a very real sense, our continent is unmade; it still awaits creation and its creators.  It
is our duty and privilege to rouse the slumbering giant of Africa, not to the nationalism of Europe of the
Nineteenth Century, not to regional conscious, but to the vision of a single African brotherhood bending
its united efforts toward the achievement of a greater and nobler goal.

Above all, we must avoid the pitfalls of tribalism.  If we are divided among ourselves on tribal lines, we
open our doors to foreign intervention and its potentially harmful consequences.  The Congo is clear
proof of what We say.  We should not be led to complacency because of the present ameliorated situation
in that country.  The Congolese people have suffered untold misery, and the economic growth of the
country has been retarded because of tribal strife.
Obstacles Formidable
But while we agree that the ultimate destiny of this continent lies in political union, we must at the same
time recognize that the obstacles to be overcome in its achievement are at once numerous and
formidable.  Africa's peoples did not emerge into liberty in uniform conditions.  Africans maintain
different political systems; our economies are diverse; our social orders are rooted in differing cultures
and traditions.  Furthermore, no clear consensus exists on the "how" and the "what" of this union.  Is it to
be, in form, federal, confederal or unitary?  Is the sovereignty of individual states to be reduced, and if so,
by how much, and in what areas?  On these and other questions there is no agreement, and if we wait for
agreed answers, generations hence matters will be little advanced, while the debate still rages.

We should, therefore, not be concerned that complete union is not attained from one day to the next.  The
union which we seek can only come gradually, as the day-to-day progress which we achieve carries us
slowly but inexorably along this course.  We have before us the examples of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.  We
must remember how long these required to achieve their union.  When a solid foundation is laid, if the
mason is able and his materials good, a strong house can be built.

Thus, a period of transition is in inevitable.  Old relations and arrangements may for a time, linger.  
Regional organizations may fulfil legitimate functions and needs which cannot yet be otherwise
satisfied.  But the difference is in this:  that we recognize these circumstances for what they are,
temporary expedients designed to serve only until we have established the conditions which will bring
total African unity within our reach.
Exploit Agreement
There is, nonetheless, much that we can do to speed this transition.  There are issues on which we stand
united and questions on which their is unanimity of opinion.  Let us seize on these areas of agreement
and exploit them to the fullest.  Let us take action now, action which, while taking account of present
realities nonetheless constitutes clear and unmistakable progress along the course plotted out for us by
destiny.  We are all adherents, whatever our internal political systems, of the principles of democratic
action.  Let us apply these to the unity we seek to create.  Let us work out our own programmes in all
fields -- political, economic, social and military.  The opponents of Africa's growth, whose interests would
be best served by a divided and balkanized continent, would derive much satisfaction from the unhappy
spectacle of thirty and more African States so split, so paralysed and immobilized by controversies over
long-term goals that they are unable even to join their efforts in short-term measures on which there is  
no dispute.  If we act where we may in those areas where action is possible, the inner logic of the
programmes which we adopt will work for us and inevitably impel us still farther in the direction of
ultimate union.

What we still lack, despite the efforts of past years, is the mechanism which will enable us to speak, with
one voice when we wish to do so and take and implement decisions on African problems when we are so
minded.  The commentators of 1963 speak in discussing Africa, of the Monrovia States, the Brazzaville
Group, the Casablanca Powers, of these and many more.  Let us put an end to these terms.  What we
require is a single African organization through which Africa's single voice may be heard, within which
Africa's problems may be studied and resolved.  We need an organization which will facilitate acceptable
solutions to disputes among Africans and promote the study and adoption of measures for common
defence and programmes for co-operation in the economic and social fields.  Let us, at this Conference,
create a single institution to which we will all belong, based on principles to which we all subscribe,
confident that in its councils our voices will carry their proper weight, secure in the knowledge that the
decisions there will be dictated by Africans and only by Africans and that they will take full account of all
vital African considerations.
Foundation for Unity
We are meeting here today to lay the basis for African unity.  Let us, here and now, agree upon the basic
instrument which will constitute the foundation for the future growth in peace and harmony and oneness
of this continent.  Let our meetings henceforth proceed from solid accomplishments.  Let us not put off,
to later consideration and study, the single act, the one decision, which must emerge from this gathering
if it is to have real meaning.  This Conference cannot close without adopting a single African Charter.  We
cannot close without adopting a single African organization possessed of the attributes We have
described.  If we fail in this, we will have shirked our responsibility to Africa and to the peoples we lead.  If
we succeed, then, and only then, will we have justified our presence here.

The organization of which We speak must possess a well - cumulated framework, having a permanent
headquarters and an adequate Secretariat providing the necessary continuity between meetings of the
permanent organs.  It must include specialized bodies to work in particular fields of competence assigned
to the organization.  Unless the political liberty for which Africans have for so long struggled is
complemented and bolstered by a corresponding economic and social growth, the breath of life which
sustains our freedom may flicker out.  In our efforts to improve the standard of life of our peoples and to
flesh out the bones of our independence, we count on the assistance and support of others.  But this alone
will not suffice, and, alone, would only perpetuate Africa's dependence on others.

A specialized body to facilitate and co-ordinate continent-wide economic programmes and to provide
the mechanism for the provision of economic assistance among African nations is thus required.  Prompt
measures can be taken to increase trade and commerce among us.  Africa's mineral wealth is great; we
should co-operate in its development.  An African Development Programme, which will make provision
for the concentration by each nation on those productive activities for which its resources and its
geographic and climatic conditions best fit it is needed.  We assume that each African nation has its own
national development programme, and it only remains for us to come together and share our experiences
for the proper implementation of a continent-wide plan.  Today, travel between African nations and
telegraphic and telephonic communications among us are circuitous in the extreme.  Road
communications between two neighbouring States are often difficult or even impossible.  It is little
wonder that trade among us has remained at a discouragingly low level.  These anachronisms are the
remnants of a heritage of which we must rid ourselves, the legacy of the century when Africans were
isolated one from the other.  These are vital areas in which efforts must be concentrated.
Development Bank
An additional project to be implemented without delay is the creation of an African Development Bank, a
proposal to which all our Governments have given full support and which has already received intensive
study.  The meeting of our Finance Ministers to be held within the coming weeks in Khartoum should
transform this proposal into fact.  This same meeting could appropriately continue studies already
undertaken of the impact upon Africa of existing regional economic groupings, and initiate further
studies to accelerate the expansion of economic relations among us.

The nations of Africa, as is true of every continent of the world, had from time to time dispute among
themselves.  These quarrels must be confined to this continent and quarantined from the contamination
of non-African interference.  Permanent arrangements must be agreed upon to assist in the peaceful
settlement of these disagreements which, however few they may be, cannot be left to languish and fester.  
Procedures must be established for the peaceful settlement of disputes, in order that the threat or use of
force may no longer endanger the peace of our continent.

Steps must be taken to establish an African defence system.  Military planning for the security of this
continent must be undertaken in common within a collective framework.  The responsibility for
protecting this continent from armed attacks from abroad is the primary concern of Africans themselves.  
Provision must be made for the extension of speedy and effective assistance when any African State is
threatened with military aggression.  We cannot rely solely on international morality.  Africa's control
over her own affairs is dependent on the existence of appropriate military arrangements to assure this
continent's protection against such threats.  While guarding our own independence, we must at the same
time determine to live peacefully with all nations of the world.
Knowing Ourselves
Africa has come to freedom under the most difficult and trying circumstances.  No small measure of the
handicaps under which we labour derive from the low educational level attained by our peoples and from
their lack of knowledge of their fellow Africans.  Education abroad is at best an unsatisfactory substitute
for education at home.  A massive effort must be launched in the educational and cultural fields which will
not only raise the level of literacy and provide the cadres of skilled and trained technicians requisite to
our growth and development but, as well, acquaint us one with another.  Ethiopia, several years ago,
instituted a programme of scholarships for students coming from other African lands which has proved
highly rewarding and fruitful, and We urge others to adopt projects of this sort.  Serious consideration
should be given to the establishment of an African University, sponsored by all African States, where
future leaders of Africa will be trained in an atmosphere of continental brotherhood.  In this African
institution, the supra-national aspects of African life would be emphasized and study would be directed
toward the ultimate goal of complete African unity.  Ethiopia stands prepared here and now to decide on
the site of the University and to fix the financial contributions to be made to it.

This is but the merest summary of what can be accomplished.  Upon these measures we are all agreed,
and our agreement should now form the basis for our action.
A World Force
Africa has become an increasingly influential force in the conduct of world affairs as the combined weight
of our collective opinion is brought to focus not only on matters which concern this continent exclusively,
but on those pressing problems which occupy the thoughts of all men everywhere.  As we have come to
know one another better and grown in mutual trust and confidence, it has been possible for us to
co-ordinate our policies and actions and contribute to the successful settlement of pressing and critical
world issues.

This has not been easy.  But co-ordinated action by all African States on common problems is imperative
if our opinions are to be accorded their proper weight.  We Africans occupy a different -- indeed a unique
-- position among the nations of this Century.  Having for so long known oppression, tyranny and
subjugation, who, with better right, can claim for all the opportunity and the right to live and grow free
men?  Ourselves for long decades the victims of injustice, whose voices can be better raised in the
demand for justice and right for all?  We demand an end to colonialism because domination of one people
by another is wrong.  We demand an end to nuclear testing and the arms race because these activities,
which pose such dreadful threats to man's existence and waste and squander humanity's material
heritage, are wrong.  We demand an end to racial segregation as an affront to man's dignity which is
wrong.  We act in these matters in the right, as a matter of high principle.  We act out of the integrity and
conviction of our most deep-founded beliefs.

If we permit ourselves to be tempted by narrow self-interest and vain ambition, if we barter our beliefs
for short-term advantage, who will listen when we claim to speak for conscience, and who will contend
that or words deserve to be heeded?  We must speak out on major world issues, courageously, openly and
honestly, and in blunt terms of right and wrong.  If we yield to blandishments or threats, if we
compromise when no honourable compromise is possible, our influence will be sadly diminished and or
prestige woefully prejudiced and weakened.  Let us not deny our ideals or sacrifice our right to stand as
the champions of the poor, the ignorant, the oppressed everywhere.  The acts by which we live and the
attitudes by which we act must be clear beyond question.  Principles alone can endow our deeds with
force and meaning.  Let us be true to what we believe, that our beliefs may serve and honour us.
Prejudice Opposed
We reaffirm today, in the name of principle and right, our opposition to prejudice, wherever and in
whatever form it may be found, and particularly do we rededicate ourselves to the eradication of racial
discrimination from this continent.  We can never rest content with our achievements so long as men, in
any part of Africa, assert on racial grounds their superiority over the least of our brothers.  Racial
discrimination constitutes a negation of the spiritual and psychological equality which we have fought to
achieve and denial of the personality and dignity which we have struggled to establish for ourselves as
Africans.  Our political and economic liberty will be devoid of meaning for so long as the degrading
spectacle of South Africa's apartheid continues to haunt our waking hours and to trouble our sleep.  We
must redouble our efforts to banish this evil from our land.  If we persevere, discrimination will one day
vanish from the earth.  If we use the means available to us, South Africa's apartheid, just as colonialism,
will shortly remain only as a memory.  If we pool our resources and use them well, this spectre will be
banished forever.

In this effort, as in so many others, we stand united with our Asian friends and brothers.  Africa shares
with Asia a common background of colonialism, of exploitation, of discrimination, of oppression.  At
Bandung, African and Asian States dedicated themselves to the liberation of their two continents from
foreign domination and affirmed the right of all nations to develop in their own way, free of any external
interference.  The Bandung Declaration and the principles enunciated at that Conference remain today
valid for us all.  We hope that the leaders of India and China, in the spirit of Bandung, will find the way to
the peaceful resolution of the dispute between their two countries.
Nuclear Danger
We must speak, also, of the dangers of the nuclear holocaust which threatens all that we hold dear and
precious, including life itself.  Forced to live our daily existence with this foreboding and ominous
shadow ever at our side, we cannot lose hope or lapse into despair.  The consequences of an uncontrolled
nuclear conflict are so dreadful that no sane man can countenance them.  There must be an end to
testing.  A programme of progressive disarmament must be agreed upon.  Africa must be freed and
shielded, as a denuclearized zone, from the consequences of direct, albeit, involuntary involvement in the
nuclear arms race.

The negotiations at Geneva, where Nigeria, the United Arab Republic and Ethiopia are participating,
continue, and painfully and laboriously, progress is being achieved.  We cannot know what portion of the
limited advances already realized can be attributed to the increasingly important role being played by the
non-aligned nations in these discussions, but we can, surely, derive some small measure of satisfaction in
even the few tentative steps taken toward ultimate agreement among the nuclear powers.  We remain
persuaded that in our efforts to scatter the clouds which rim the horizon of our future, success must
come, if only because failure is unthinkable.  Patience and grim determination are required, and faith in
the guidance of Almighty God.
Collective Security
We would not close without making mention of the United Nations.  We personally, Who have throughout
Our lifetime been ever guided and inspired by the principle of collective security, would not now propose
measures which depart from or are inconsistent with this ideal or with the declarations of the United
Nations Charter.  It would be foolhardy indeed to abandon a principle which has withstood the test of
time and which has proved its inherent value again and again in the past.  It would be worse than folly to
weaken the one effective world organization which exists today and to which each of us owes so much.  It
would be sheer recklessness for any of us to detract from this organization which, however imperfect,
provides the best bulwark against the incursion of any forces which would deprive us of our hard-won
liberty and dignity.

The African Charter of which We have spoken is wholly consistent with that of the United Nations.  The
African organization which We envisage is not intended in any way to replace in our national or
international life that position which the United Nations has so diligently earned and so rightfully
occupies.  Rather, the measure which We propose would complement and round out programmes
undertaken by the United Nations and its specialized agencies and, hopefully, render both their activities
and ours doubly meaningful and effective.  What we seek will multiply many times over the contribution
which our joint endeavours may make to the assurance of world peace and the promotion of human
well-being and understanding.
History's Dictum
A century hence, when future generations study the pages of history, seeking to follow and fathom the
growth and development of the African continent, what will they find of this Conference?  Will it be
remembered as an occasion on which the leaders of a liberated Africa, acting boldly and with
determination, bent events to their will and shaped the future destinies of the African peoples?  Will this
meeting be memorialized for its solid achievements, for the intelligence and maturity which marked the
decisions taken here?  Or will it be recalled for its failures, for the inability of Africa's leaders to transcend
local prejudices and individual differences, for the disappointment and disillusionment which followed in
its train?

These questions give us all pause.  The answers are within our power to dictate.  The challenges and
opportunities which open before us today are greater than those presented at any time in Africa's
millennial of history.  The risks and the dangers which confront us are no less great.  The immense
responsibilities which history and circumstance have thrust upon us demand balanced and sober
reflection.  If we succeed in the tasks which lie before us, our names will be remembered and our deeds
recalled by those who follow us.  If we fail, history will puzzle at our failure and mourn what was lost.  We
approach the days ahead with the prayer that we who have assembled here may be granted the wisdom,
the judgment and the inspiration which will enable us to maintain our faith with the peoples and the
nations which have entrusted their fate to our hands.
Haile Selassie the First - May 25, 1963