“Your Imperial Majesty, it is a great honour to be permitted to speak with you today and also to have you as a guest on this special Christmas programme which will be broadcast to people all over the world.” (…)
“His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie The First ascended the throne of Ethiopia in November in the year 1930. Now, in the year 1968, Haile Selassie has been in the forefront in mediating the crisis in Biafra. Some of the intervening years have been stormy ones. But there are few Statesmen who can retrace a career of more resolute leadership in both internal and world affairs. Few can claim greater unbroken continuity with the past that nevertheless moves methodically into the twentieth century. At the same time, few have seen more anguish and defeat than Haile Selassie, of whom biographer Leonard Mosley has written in projected epitaph, ‘He shaped, rather than waited upon events’.
Just seven months after He became Emperor in 1930, He gave the people of Ethiopia their first written Constitution. His plea before the League of Nations in 1936 as His country was ravaged by Mussolini’s armies, and His anguished exile during the following years, are etched in the memory of the world. When He regained His throne in 1941, His refusal to allow retaliation against the defeated invader was viewed with disbelief.
‘On this day‘, He said, ‘I owe thanks unutterable by the mouth of man to the living God who has enabled me to be present among you. Today is the beginning of a new era in the history of Ethiopia. Since this is so, do not reward evil for evil…do not commit any act of cruelty like those which the enemy committed against us up to this present time‘.
When the United Nations Charter was drawn up after World War II His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie was one of its original drafters. In 1963, He established the Organization of African Unity, to encourage co-operation among African States and co-ordinate their efforts to build a better life for the people of all Africa.
Constitutional reforms in 1956 guaranteed all the rights of the people of Ethiopia, though the Emperor retains much personal power in governing His agricultural nation of 22 million people, all the time seeking to lead His nation toward a fully modern way of life.
At 76 years of age, His Imperial Majesty continues to work a twenty hour day, with three hours for sleep and one devoted to prayer. Emperor Haile Selassie and I talked about many things on that day during the rainy season.” (…)
“Your Imperial Majesty, as a figure of world importance and probably one of the best known man in the world today…
(…) “Your Imperial Majesty, You have done us great honour and also all the people who will listen to this broadcast by giving us the opportunity to speak with You this day. And all those who are listening should know that this conversation was held in the Imperial Palace at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, and we thank You and wish you God’s blessing in all the days to come.”