My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress ( Pt13)

About Our pressing for Ethiopia’s entry into the League of Nations

When the great world war was over, it was feared that a similarly dreadful war might break out again in future; therefore, if (a league of nations having been established) a quarrel arose between two governments-the willful waging of war having ceased-the matter about which the quarrel occurred would come before the league. After investigation, judgement would be given by the vote of the league, it having become manifest-in accordance with the importance of the conflict-that a certain government had given offence, while another government had been the victim of that offence. On 28th Sane 1911 (= 21st June 1919) 27 governments had reached agreement and signed the treaty, concurring that it was improper for a strong government willfully to attack a weak one or to impose financial sanctions on it, but that, if a government transgressed the wishes of the league, it would be the opponent of the entire assembly and they were all to rise up against it in opposition. The league’s principal seat was in the Swiss city of Geneva. Some of the foreigners at Addis Ababa, having given Us information by way of friendship, had spoken to Us about the league and We had studied a great deal of the literature about it; consequently, We convened the great nobles and all Our ministers and delivered to them the following speech:


File:Malaria Commission of the League of Nations, Geneva. Photogr Wellcome  V0028078.jpg - Wikimedia Commons


It would be of great benefit if Ethiopia were to enter the League of Nations. It is necessary, however, in future to improve gra­dually our entire machinery of government, and therefore We asked them to let Us know their present thoughts, lest we should experience difficulties in the League if we failed to improve our governmental procedures, once we had entered the League. The nobles and ministers declared unanimously that it was impossible to effect major improvements within one year but that it was their wish to improve the entire work of government year by year in slow stages, and therefore it was right for us to enter the League. Hence the question of our entry was decided.


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After this We sent to Geneva a delegation with Our letter, on 1st Nahase 1914 (= 7th Aug. 1922), consisting of Dejazmatch Nadaw as leader, Ato Heruy Walda Sellasse and Ato Fasika as aides, with instructions that they should sign in Our name as soon as our entry into the League had been granted.

As Our envoys informed Us, there was for a time a little difficulty with regard to the application which the Ethiopian Government had presented in order to enter the League of Nations. But later on the French delegate, M. de Jouvenel, and the former French minister plenipotentiary in Ethiopia, M. Lagarde, helped a great deal and, consequently, the British and Italian delegates declared their goodwill towards Ethiopia’s entry into the League. The assembly, therefore, gave full approval, and Our envoys signed the accord and returned. There was great joy at Addis Ababa. The rejoicing was for no reason other than that We thought that the Covenant of the League would protect us from the sort of attack which Italy has now launched against us.

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