JFK & ETHIOPIA EMPEROR SELASSIE
In a previous article I described the day I spent in Addis Ababa, including a visit to the Ethiopian National Museum, where I saw the throne of Emperor Haile Selassie. See ETHIOPIA'S SELASSIE & MENGISTU
In October 1963 Selassie went on a tour of the USA and was given royal treatment by JFK -- including a motorcade along Pennysylvania Avenue to the White House where he met JFK's children and gave them gifts. JFK and Jackie met Selassie at the Washington, DC train station when he arrived. When JFK died less than two months later Selassie attended his funeral and afterwards played with John-John and Caroline in the family residence upstairs at the White House.
Below is the speech JFK gave and excerpts from books about Ethiopia and the life and death of Haille Selassie.
All the best,
"Your Majesty: On behalf of all of my fellow citizens, I want to express our great appreciation to you for having traveled across so many thousands of miles to visit us once again and also for the pleasure that you have brought us all in bringing with you your granddaughter, and the benefit you have brought us in bringing the members of your Government.
"As you say, Ethiopia and the United States are separated not only by geography but by history and culture, but I think that they are bound together by necessity, and that is the necessity for all sovereign free countries to maintain the most intimate association.
"So we are very proud to have you here because of what your country has done, what it is doing, because of the hospitality you have shown to my fellow countrymen when they have gone there to work or to visit.
"Most of all, we are glad to have you here because of your own extraordinary record. Those of us who have held office for a comparatively brief time are somewhat awed to realize that you have borne the responsibility of leadership in your country for more than 45 years. For a good part of this century, with all the changes that it has brought to not only your own country but to the continent of Africa, and so much of the West during this whole period, the central thrust of burden has been borne by you. And to have borne it with such distinction in other days and to still bear it with such force - demonstrated by the fact that your capital was chosen by your fellow leaders of Africa to be the center of this great, cooperative movement which was symbolized by the summit meeting in your capital and which was made a success by your own very patient efforts - brings accord out of what could have been on occasion perhaps a disagreement.
"So, looking to a long past, looking to a promising future, we want to say, Your Majesty, that we are proud to have you here, we have been honored by the visit, and I hope that this short time here in Washington will remind you once again of how strongly your place is secured in the affection of all of the people of the United States. I hope all of you will join with me in a toast to His Imperial Majesty."
No sooner had Emperor Selassie returned to Ethiopia than he received the horrifying news that President Kennedy had been assassinated. Once again he "traveled across so many thousands of miles" to the United States, to be one of 220 representatives from 100 nations to attend his funeral.
The following passages describe Emperor Selassie's relationship with President Kennedy's children, Caroline and John, six and three years-old respectively:
The Death of a President
by William Manchester
"...Overhead, St. Matthew's choir sang the Gregorian "Subvenite" while the ushers struggled to seat the marchers quickly. The family was easy enough. Jacqueline Kennedy's only special request had been to have Clint Hill directly behind her. Joe Gargan held a space between her and the children for the President's mother until Rose arrived. Bob and Ted were at the end of that row, and their wives, sisters, and children were in the second and third pews. The snag was over the dignitaries. This was Angie Duke's worry, and it was a stupendous one. The slight, sensitive chief of protocol had been working without rest for three days and three nights. Ahead of him, after the funeral, lay two crucial receptions - Mrs. Kennedy's, in the executive mansion, and President Johnson's, at State. Nevertheless it was his hour in church that was to be his hour of trial. First he found that the pews he had earmarked last night had been confiscated by Jack McNally for President Kennedy's staff. He was obliged to lead his chiefs of state off to the right, to St. Joseph Chapel - from which, he discovered in horror, the main altar was invisible.
Angie improvised. He seized a church functionary and demanded a television set. There was one in the cathedral, he was told, but using it in church during Mass was unthinkable. It had to be thinkable, said Angie, arguing furiously; diplomatic relations with ninety-one countries were at stake. The set appeared and was plugged in. It would be the only one in the cathedral, he told his charges, and they looked immensely pleased. Their pleasure diminished, however, when he started seating them. It was then he realized that in failing to allow for overcoats he had miscalculated badly. He had forgotten something else; the Emperor of Ethiopia, the King of the Belgians, and the husband of the Queen of England were all carrying bulky swords, more space-takers. Putting four bodies in a pew instead of five made a difference of twenty people - twenty world leaders who would have to stand. It wouldn't do. He would have to start cramming. Like a conductor on a crowded bus he kept urging them to move over. They complied, grunting. Some situations were especially awkward...."They were jammed in like sardines," Angie said of the foreigners later. "I stood throughout the Mass and suffered. Somehow we had got them all seated, but I hate to think how it was done."
From the front pew in the main well of the church young John saw Haile Selassie. The Lion of Judah, who looked like a midget to Larry O'Brien, was a giant to John. Last summer he had come to the mansion bearing gifts: a leopard-skin coat for Mrs. Kennedy (which she, as a token of respect, had worn at the time despite the sweltering heat) and two toys carved of pure ivory, a doll for Caroline and a warrior for John. Since then the children hadn't stopped talking about Haile Selassie, and John pointed toward the side chapel and gazed across at him admiringly. Then the formalities became boring to the boy. He fidgeted. St. Matthew's bronze doors had clanged shut behind the last four persons to enter -- Judge Sarah Hughes, Bunny Mellon, Martin Luther King, and Mary Ryan from Ireland. Luigi Vena was singing Leybach's "Pie Jesu" as the crucifer slowly returned the cross to the altar, accompanied by two other acolytes carrying candles. The Cardinal followed them, chanting in Latin. Behind him the casket team, moving stiffly like drugged automatons, wheeled the coffin into position in front of the first pew, a few feet from the widow....
None of this had any meaning for the President's little son. From across the aisle Nina Warren and Joanie Douglas, in the Supreme Court section, heard him say "Where's my Daddy?" The boy lifted his arms. "Somebody pick me up." Agent Foster, lurking near, carried him to the back of the church....
...Indeed, everything was over - the burial service, the state funeral, the strangely congruous blend of Old World mysticism and American tradition, the parade of uniforms and vestments, of judges and secret agents, of princes and prelates and anonymous, nondescript citizens who had surged across the bridge in the wake of the marching columns because they couldn't bear to be left behind....
Cradling the flag under her left arm...she walked down the hill holding Bob Kennedy's hand....In the car Mrs. Kennedy and the two brothers talked of the funeral - of how splendid it had been - and as the procession of returning cars came off the Washington side of the bridge and turned left, Robert Kennedy ordered the chauffeur of their car to leave the line and circle the Lincoln Memorial from the right. That way he could see the statue. He told the driver to draw over in front of it, and they did, as thousands of tourists do each day. From the back seat President Kennedy's widow and the two heirs of his political legacy inclined their heads leftward to look up between the columns at Daniel Chester French's nineteen-foot-high figure of the sad, strong, brooding President Lincoln the marble chin tilted in thought. After a while Bob tapped the chauffeur. They drove on without having spoken...
The Kennedy's duty lay downstairs, where Angie Duke was leading their exotic guests to two buffets in the state and family dining rooms...
It s doubtful that any woman has ever prepared herself for a state function in less time. Before Peter Lawford entered the West Sitting Room to sit with Evelyn and his mother-in-law Jacqueline Kennedy had removed her veil and black beret, raked her simple coiffure into shape, and was in the Oval Room, ready to meet people. She was not going downstairs just yet, though. Here as everywhere she had her own way of doing things. For a little while she was going to be nearly as great a trial to Angie Duke as Jack McNally. A protocol officer must think in terms of nations, not people; he must pretend that every country is like every other country, distinguishable only by the alphabet. Sovereigns understood that. At the buffet Angie proposed that Queen Frederika precede President Lubke, on the ground that she was a woman; she recoiled, pointing out that GErmany comes before GReece. Jacqueline Kennedy didn't like those rules. She only wanted to see four men in private, and she named them: Haile Selassie, Charles de Gaulle, Eamon de Valera, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The first stage of the Kennedy reception therefore had three foci: her salon in the oval study, Rose Kennedy's group in the sitting room, and the others downstairs. Various intermediaries shuttled in and out of the study - the Attorney General usually, assisted by Mac Bundy, by Angie, who had reluctantly agreed to "slip them up," and, unexpectedly, by the President's son and daughter. Caroline and John had been assigned no role. They were supposed to be playing with Miss Shaw. Their impromptu appearances were welcomed, however, because famous men are just as susceptible to the magic spell of the very young as their constituents, and brother and sister scored their own triumphs, notably with the Lion of Judah. Bundy noted how he saw their mother "charm the old black Emperor and let him charm her children - which he did most sweetly." Really they were the charmers. The language barrier was formidable - Jacqueline Kennedy and Selassie spoke French, for his English was extremely limited - but the children had their own ways of communicating. "He was," Mrs. Kennedy remembered, "their hero"; she fetched them from across the hall, and as they entered timidly at first, she pointed to his glittering chest and said, "Look, John. He's such a brave soldier. That's why he has all those medals." The boy crept up into his lap and touched one. Then Caroline ran out to get the doll he had given her last summer. Her brother darted after her, and suddenly they were both in the Emperor's lap, showing him the ivory carvings they had treasured. Haile Selassie examined John's toy. "You will be a brave warrior," he said haltingly. "Like your father." They sat there for about twenty minutes, and to their mother the bond between them and the bearded old man in the gorgeous uniform was almost mystical. "He had this thing of love, and they showed him their little presents," she recalled later. "And they were so happy, just staring at him and worshipping."...
While Haile Selassie was in the study de Gaulle had stepped into the sitting room to tell Rose Kennedy of it, and Selassie, at Jacqueline Kennedy's suggestion, had followed him there. Here again the Emperor was especially effective. The President's mother recited his childhood diseases in French; "He was never a strong boy," she said, "but he was so determined." Selassie nodded and described how he had lost his own son, his crown prince. He and Rose discovered that they were the same age. "It's wrong for parents to bury their children. It should be the other way round," she said. He agreed: "It's a violation of nature." ...
Ethiopia is in a state of emergency. The tyrannical government must go, by Alemante Gebre-Selassie, The Guardian, Oct 12, 2016
...The country's deadly protests stem from ethnic division, endemic corruption and high youth unemployment. The world must support calls for a new government... The TPLF-government has to be held to account. The donor communities, particularly the UK, the US and the EU, should stand with the Ethiopian people by ceasing all military, financial and diplomatic support to the tyrannical government, supporting instead the opposition's call for an all-inclusive transitional process to replace the current government.
Haile Selassie of Ethiopia Dies at 83, August 28, 1975
Preserving Progress, by Alden Whitman... The combination of circumstances that led to Haile Selassie's downfall tended to obscure his accomplishments in leading a largely illiterate, rural and feudal country with 2,000 languages and dialects into the 19th, if not the 20th, century. And it also shadowed his contributions to African unity. An African who met the Emperor at the United Nations Security Council session in Addis Ababa in 1972 summed up a widespread feeling when he said: "Haile Selassie is one of the world's great men. He did a lot for his country and early became a respected voice for Africa and for the third world."...
Haile Selassie I, Emperor, (1892-1975), Biography
... Emperor Haile Selassie worked to modernize Ethiopia for several decades before famine and political opposition forced him from office in 1974.... In February 1974 mutinees broke out in the army over low pay, while a secessionist guerrilla war in Eritrea furthered his problems. Haile Selassie was eventually ousted from power in a coup and kept under house arrest in his palace until his death in 1975. Reports initially circulated claiming that he had died of natural causes, but later evidence revealed that he had probably been strangled to death on the orders of the new government. In 1992 Haile Selassie's remains were discovered, buried under a toilet in the Imperial Palace. In November 2000 the late emperor received a proper burial when his body was laid to rest in Addis Ababa's Trinity Cathedral....
watch This Is Why They Hate Haile Selassie I -- But This Is Why We Love H.I.M!, Another Look CCTV Documentary, June 28, 2014
The pillar of modern Ethiopia. Some information in this documentary does not agree with our sources. None the less this is a valuable gem if you pay attention there is a lot of information that has previously not been told at least in documentary form....
OUT OF AFRICA (souvenirs from day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Jackie Jura, July 2006):
JOHN-JOHN'S BIRTH and JFK AND CAMELOT and CAMELOT'S LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY and JFK TRUTH & UNTRUTH
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