The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I – Volume 2 (Pt 2)

Mussolini on his part, gave the following long speech about the sanctions that had been imposed on Italy:

 

Using language as a weapon: How Mussolini used Latin to link fascism to the  mighty Roman Empire - Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art  and Ideas

 

The fact that the whole world conspired against Italy was an irrational act. And there is something that those who live in Britain should know. That is the fact that the so-called League of Nations is an empty and defunct machine when it comes to the dispute between Ethiopia and Italy. Italy’s glorious deed will be recorded only when the dispute between Italy and Ethiopia is settled outside the confusion of the League of Nations. I have dismantled the government of Ethiopia.

The representatives of a vanquished country should not be present in the Geneva assembly. We have not forgotten that the League levied an unprecedented punishment on the Italian people. We will not forget it in the future. It intended to decimate the people, the households, and children by starvation. It also attempted in vain to obstruct the efforts of our military, which was on a civilizing mission.

It did not succeed, however… [since] the League was confronted by the formidable unity of the Italian people, which is ready to sacrifice anything and is able to fight even against fifty-two countries Hereafter, it should not be necessary to involve the League of Nations in the remaining political efforts to bring peace. In 1935 A.D. we concluded an agreement with France. While an expansion of the agreement along the path of genuine friendship was being considered, the issue of sanctions came about. We were a bit disappointed at the sanctions. When this happened the winter was just beginning The winter passed.

Spring came. Our victory came with the spring. Yet the sanctions remained strictly in force. Two months after we entered Addis Abeba, the sanctions were still in force. France was still referring to the old re­cords of the League and continued to believe that the previous government of the Lion of Judah was alive. However, except in the records of the League, the truth is that, due to our victory, the emperor’s government has expired.

I leave the reader to judge what the consequences of Mussolini’s threat might have entailed, had not God, in His kindness, changed the situation. At the time the possibility for peace hinged upon the guarantee of Collective Security as provided in the regulations and procedures of the League. Mussolini however, invaded Ethiopia and began to jeer at and insult the League of Nations, saying its charter and procedures were useless pieces of paper and that the League was a worthless forum for bickering. As the result of these abusive and inflammatory words, many countries began to shiver visibly.

After this, We returned to London from Geneva. We received the necessary assistance from the people and authorities of England who showed Us hospitality during Our hard times…. Deciding to make Our residence at Bath, We bought a house called Fairfield and, with renewed vigor, continued Our struggle. A number of English people provided Us with sound friendship in Our diplomatic struggle by condemning the aggressor. Even earlier, in 1928 E.C. [1935-36], when Pierre Laval [then the French premier] made a clandestine agreement with Mussolini on matters which… involved Ethiopia, they had expressed their friendship. It is a matter of recent memory that many English people rejected the idea which the former British foreign Secretary Samuel Hoare proposed with Laval to stop the war, because they thought the terms were not only favorable and rewarding for the aggressor, but also supportive of the atrocities it had perpetrated. Later, the majority of the people did not hold back from supporting and sympathizing with Us in our struggle.

 

Fairfield Manor. The house in Bath, England, where Emperor Haile Selassie  spent some years in exile with his family and close advis… | House styles,  Manor, Mansions

Fairfield House – Bath

Initially, an organization named the “Abyssinia Association” was set up and began functioning to make financial contributions to Ethiopian refugees in order to help them in their daily needs. Under the editorship of Mrs. Sylvia Pankhurst, a weekly newspaper entitled New Times and Ethiopia News was established and published every Saturday. This newspaper helped Us loudly to voice Ethiopia’s woes and to capture a worldwide audience; its service was so great that We would never forget the good deeds of Mrs. Sylvia Pankhurst.

When We went to England and lived there, We relied on God and counted on the assistance of the English people and did not need any protector for Our life. Our faith in God was firm, and Our belief remained certain that one day, in His righteous judgement, He would bestow victory on Us.

Although We were the leader of 15 million people, to achieve the goal of Our mission, We used to appear in various places where many people were gathered to explain about the yoke of misery that had fallen on my country and people.

* * *

While, on the one hand, We were doing things such as this, on the other hand, We had to transmit instructions to Ethiopia regarding the administration of Our government. When We left Ethiopia, We had ordered Bitwoded Wolde Tsadik to go to Gore to maintain order and to manage the work of Our govern­ment, and he had already started his work. After We reached England, however, on learning that Ras Imru was in Gore, We appointed him as Our chief representative and commander of the army, and Bitwoded Wolde Tsadik as Prime Minister to lead the country, and sent the following instruction to both of them.

To Ras Imru:

Ras Imru

As We informed you in our previous letter, if We, in God’s provision, secure money and arms, We believe that Our objectives will be rehabilitated. Nevertheless, at all times, be it during peace or war, as a leader is necessary in Western Ethiopia and in the lands not yet occupied by the Italians, you will be Our chief representative and commander of the army. We authorize you to use the revenue from the area according to your discretion, and let the proclamation be an­nounced soon and the work be started immediately. Set up the twelve ministries to start the work. To assist you in this work, Fitawrari Tafesse [Habte Mikail], Kenyazmatch Belhu, Azaj Kebbedde, and Ato Daba Biru have been sent out. Assign people like Gerazmatch Mesfin Kelemework [and] Blata Deressa to be in charge of the ministries. This is only a suggestion because We do not have the list of all the noblemen and the workers currently with you, so do whatever seems useful to you. However, let Bitwoded Wolde Tsadik be the Prime Minister and lead the work. We have sent a similar letter to him.

Hamle 12, 1928 A.D. [July 19, 1936]

RASTAFARI | .......Embryon de coopérative d'Artistes........

 

To Bitwoded Wolde Tsadik:

As We informed you in detail in the other letter We had written you, We have made a point to be present at the September assembly [of the League of Nations], and have begun preparations to secure arms and loans from Europe. In Western Ethiopia, which the enemy has not yet occupied, We have ordered Ras Imru to be Our chief representative, and you to take up the work of the Prime Minister, and together with him do whatever is in your capacity for the liberation of Ethiopia, for our flag, and our religion; and envisage ways in which the enemy may be stricken and Ethiopia’s independence restored.

Hamle 12, 1928 A.D. [July 19, 1936]

What was in Our mind was to be present at the League of Nations assembly, which was to be held in the month of September to speak about Ethiopia, then, after securing arms and financial assistance, proceed to join Our army at Gore to continue the struggle. Thus, We sent Our messengers, Fekade Sellassie Herui, Our Lord Chamberlain Kenyazmatch Belhu Degefu, the sons of Azaj Workineh, Benyamin and Yoseph, to hand over Our message to Ras Imru and others. Fekade Sellassie Herui came back to Us with their reply and later returned to Gore. The rest remained there. We wanted Ras Getachew Abate, with Ato Ephraim Tewoldemedhin, to enter Ethiopia through Gambela and join Our army; we gave him [the ras] a passport and money and he left. However, he remained in Cairo for a while, making all sorts of excuses, and eventually deserted Us and defected to the Italian side. Although greatly disappointed, Our trusty Ato Ephraim, however, returned to Us and resumed his service.

 

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