Haile Selassie Interview by Yugoslav Press

Haile Selassie Interview by Yugoslav Press  (1959) 
by Haile Selassie, translated by Haile Selassie I Press

September 09, 1959, interview; select answers


During our recent visit, with President Nasser of the United Arab Republic We exchanged views on the utilization of the Nile Waters. It was clearly understood by all that the resources of the Nile are adequate for the needs of all the riparian states, provided of course that there is consultation and agreement between them. We were able to inform President Nasser that We have Our own plans for the utilization of the Blue Nile River. It is Our impression that President Nasser fully understands Our position on this question.

On our part a study is under way for the development of the Nile basin, and it is expected that construction will start in the vicinity of Lake Tana in the very near future. The study is being conducted by a team of experts from various countries. The extent of the benefit to accrue for Ethiopia from the utilization of the Nile waters can best be judged from the benefits already being drawn from this river by both Sudan and the United Arab Republic.

Our relations with Yugoslavia in general and in the fields of economic cooperation and exchange of trade in particular have developed rapidly. To cite two among the many projects which we have been able to develop with the assistance provided by the Yugoslav Government by credit and technical assistance are the port of Assab and a survey of the Water Resources of Ethiopia. It is Our expectation that these relations and collaboration between Yugoslavia and Ethiopia will further develop for the mutual benefit of our two peoples.

During Our recent visit to the USSR, We felt that the people and Government of that country sincerely desired peace. This impression has been confirmed also by what the Authorities have declared to Us.

It is our hope that efforts for peace would not confine themselves to verbal statements, but would work out in the actual relations between the nations of the world.

We have also been deeply impressed by the vast resources of the country and the industry and diligence of the people.

As to the question regarding trade and cooperation between Ethiopia and Communist nations, problems of communication and geographical location can stand in the way of development. But trade relations have already been commenced with some of these countries, and a certain amount of development can be anticipated.

Regarding the expansion of Communism in the Middle East, you are in a better position to assess the situation than We are. We are happy about the resumption of diplomatic relation between UAR and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, since it would ease some of the tension that exists in the Middle East, and pave the way for closer cooperation.

Regarding the recent appointments in the Iraq Government, We would consider this an internal matter of that Government, and would not like to express any opinion, since We believe in the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

Eisenhower-Khrushchev MeetingEdit

The forthcoming meeting between President Eisenhower and Premier Khrushchev may well thaw the cold war and become a step on the road to peace, for which the whole world yearns deeply, and therefore it is a very significant event in the history of our decade. We welcome this meeting. However, it has to be stated quite categorically that no ultimate solution can be arrived at without all the nation who are members of the U.N. organization participating in it. The mistakes of the Congress of Berlin and of Yalta are not to be repeated. The small nations, having also committed themselves to the principles and Charter of the United Nations, would expect the big powers to adhere to those principles of self-determination for small and big nations and to the channels of negotiations, which have been established in our age after great sacrifices.

The main impression that We have gathered from Our recent visit to many countries in Africa and Europe, is that all people are primarily desirous of working in peace to improve their standards of living. Since peace is the basic requirement for the peoples of the world to cooperate among themselves for the betterment of their lives, it becomes an imperative duty of the leaders of nations, as We have often stated, to make striving for peace the primary objective of their national and international policy. We would like to reaffirm Our strong conviction that the principles of coexistence enunciated at the historic conferences of Bandung and Accra should form a major basis in international relations.

Ethiopian-Yugoslav RelationsEdit

We have been pleased by the development of the close friendship and collaboration between Ethiopia and Yugoslavia, during the past years, which have, as is known, yielded valuable results to both nations. Since it is Our fervent desire to see the development and strengthening of this collaboration in various fields, We shall strive harder towers this objective. The friendship between Ethiopia and Yugoslavia bears eloquent testimony to the possibility of nations with different political systems cooperating in facing their common problems and working together towards world peace.

We remember how, during Our previous visit to Yugoslavia five years ago, the people of this country gave warm expression to their feelings of friendship towards Ourselves and Our people. During the present visit also, the heartfelt welcome extended to Us by the peoples of the Slovenian and Croatian Republics, has manifested to Us genuinity of their goodwill towers Us and Our people. We have not only experienced the hospitality of the people, but have also observed with admiration the priority given to, and the progress achieved in the field of industrial development. This achievement assures Us that the people of Yugoslavia, under the able leadership of His Excellency President Tito, would, in the near future, attain an even greater degree of development and welfare.

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