F. Cyril James, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University
Montreal, 5th of June 1954
I am deeply privileged to present to you, in the same of the Senate, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, Elected of God, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, in order that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Already renowed for his wise direction of the development of his country, he stood forth before the Western World in 1936 as a symbol of courage and of that vision without which nations perish. ‘I decided to come myself’, he told the League of Nations in calm but unforgettable words, ‘to bear witness against the crime perpetrated upon my people, and to give Europe a warning of the doom that awaits it if it should bow before the accomplished fact’.
The Western World was not quickly awakened, but when it had become engulfed in Armageddon His Imperial Majesty at once returned to Khartoum to lead the patriot forces that fought gallantly to reconquer their country from the aggressor. For many men that would have been achievement enough; but then years later, in 1950, when freedom was endangered in a distant corner of the world, His Imperial Majesty promptly gave the support of Ethiopia to another country in desperate need. ‘You are fighting not only for freedom as we know it in Ethiopia’, he told his soldiers as they set out for Korea, ‘you are also representing and defending in far corners of the earth the most sacred principle of modern international policy – that principle of collective security with which the name of Ethiopia is imperishably associated’.
Mr. Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, pioneer in the field of education; clear-visioned to promote the development of his country; skilled and unflinchingly courageous in its defence; leader among leaders – Negus Negusti – in man’s progress toward a world society in which every nation shall enjoy the blessings of peace.”