Fundamental Assumptions

Fundamental Assumptions

an excerpt from Speech to the United Nations

“Like the Covenant of the League of Nations which preceded it, the Charter of the United Nations was based on certain fundamental assumptions, the first of which was that the signatory States would discharge their obligations under the Charter in all good faith. Unfortunately, the stumbling block in both documents, was precisely this assumption. while the motives of the Covenant and Charter are not in doubt, it is clear that the conduct of the members of the respective organizations is directly responsible for the premature liquidation of the League, and the continuing predicaments of the United Nations.

“Nor should this sound curious or incomprehensible, for it is a fact that people often prove to be the undoing of their own constructive actions. Abundant proof is furnished by the ambivalent traits in human nature and the lack of consistency of the conduct of international relations.

I consider my presence here today as a link between the past and the present. When in 1936, my ancient country, after a gallant resistance against the unprovoked aggressor, fell prey to its remorseless enemy, it became my painful duty, as Emperor of Ethiopia, to appear before the League of Nations to appeal for help for my suffering people. Over and above the fate of a nation brutally invaded, I also pleaded at that time the cause of the more fundamental issues of international morality and collective security. Though the ideas enunciated then were by no means novel, it happened that both my appearance before the League, as leader of a nation, and my pronouncement were without precedent.”

October 24, 1970, the UNs 25th Anniversary