The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps has warned me that in speaking to you this evening, I will be talking to "professional analysts," which means, I fear, that every word I utter will be carefully examined, dissected and weighed. While you busy yourselves so, please remember one thing: you are diplomats and I am not! I sometimes wonder what category I do come under these days. I wonder, for instance, if I am even a politician! Since, however, I am what I am; I intend to say what little I have to say tonight, freely and without diplomatic delicacy!
As we look at the world today, we cannot pretend to be optimistic that the problems of peace and war, colonialism and disarmament are nearer solution than before. In spite of the limited successes achieved in the attempts to solve these problems, they still constitute the most glaring paradox of our modern age.
I know, however, that you, who are members of the diplomatic corps, are as dedicated as we are to the preservation of peace, the abolition of war, the liquidation of colonialism and the achievement of general and complete disarmament.
As I have said elsewhere, the balance of forces in the world today has reached such a stage that the only avenue open to mankind is co-existence. The only alternative to this is chaos, destruction and perhaps even complete annihilation. As I see it, mankind must decide whether it prefers the "world without the bomb" or "the bomb without the world."
It is because of our ardent desire in Ghana for the achievement of world peace that we took steps last year to sponsor the Accra Assembly on the World Without the Bomb. Without world peace, neither Ghana nor, indeed, the rest of the African Continent can hope to maintain a steady rate of progress and development. In the wider field of international life, development is seriously hampered by the conflicts which break out between the great power blocks. We cannot, however, speak of a balance of forces, or even of co-existence or peace itself so long as any vestiges of colonialism remain anywhere in the world.
Ghana’s foreign policy has been clearly stated on many occasions. Our policy in Africa is to support by all legitimate means those countries still struggling for their liberation from the colonial yoke. We also believe that the true voice of Africa can only emerge from a political Union of the Independent African States.
Such a Union will enable the Continent to exploit and develop its resources to the fullest capacity for the benefit of the states which shall compose it. Externally, we seek co-operation and friendship with all nations, based on a policy of positive neutralism and non-alignment.
Ghana’s African policy and our policy of positive neutralism and non- alignment have often been deliberately misinterpreted, but I believe that our stand has made it possible for us to preserve our moral stature and has also enabled us to keep a balanced view on international issues. In the past, Africa was the scene of slavery, colonial exploitation and oppressive rule. Today, there is a new Africa and a new African; an African who refuses to succumb to the blandishments of the imperialists, colonialists and neo-colonialists and rejects any policies inimical to the interest of the peoples of Africa. This new Africa is ready to fulfil its destiny and play its part in the establishment of the grand and peaceful new world order to which mankind is dedicated.
It is in this spirit that I wish to assure you, representatives of your governments in Ghana, of my deep appreciation for the spirit of cooperation and understanding which has characterised the relations between us. We have had our differences, our diplomatic ups and downs and our clashes. But what are you here in Ghana for, anyway?
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am reminded here of a traditional Ananse story which I would like to tell you. Ananse bought a large piece of virgin forest for cultivation. The day came when he wanted to clear this land and, as is the custom, he invited all his friends of the forest to come and help him. They came willingly; the snake and the toad, the farmer and his cutlass, the hen and the hawk, the cat and the mouse, the lion and the deer and the elephant. Fire and water came along too, one to burn the twigs, the other to refresh the labourers.
They gathered there for one purpose; to help Ananse clear his land. But Ananse was a mischief-maker. As soon as he gave the order to start work, he hid behind a tree to enjoy the spectacle which he had planned. First, the farmer chased the snake and battered him to death with his cutlass. Then the hawk swooped down and attacked the hens. The cat caught and ate the mouse, the lion the deer and the elephant trumpeted about killing with his heavy feet those animals who were still alive. The fire and water were both lost in a heavy downpour of rain.
Because of Ananse’s destructive deed, all was lost. Ladies and Gentlemen; there, but for the grace of sweet reasonableness, goes mankind. Let us learn to live and let live while there is yet time. If we are to work together for the peace and happiness of mankind, we must learn to do better than Ananse and his animal friends.
And now, may I ask you to drink with me a toast — a toast to friendship and cooperation among nations.