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To His Excellency Dr Kenneth Kaunda,
President of the Republic of Zambia.

It is our desire, Mister President, to address to you, and through you to the Heads of State and Government and the national delegates participating in the Conference of Non-Aligned States which is taking place in the capital of Zambia, a cordial expression of greeting and good wishes.

As Our thoughts are constantly turned to every initiative and every prospect from which peace may come, We find in every meeting of those in positions of responsibility for the fortunes of peoples a matter for close attention and hope. Such sentiments affect Us in a particular way because of the importance of the Conference now taking place, so striking is the number of Governments represented at it and so noble the ideals of collaboration and peace which they propose to pursue in common, to the advantage of their own peoples and of all mankind.

Because of the religious purpose which is hers, the Catholic Church is aware that her spiritual mission transcends the concrete settlement of temporal problems.

This task is entrusted to those who have responsibility in political, economic and social life. However, as a universal community of men who believe in the ideals of brotherhood and peace taught by the Gospel and corresponding to the noblest aspirations of the human mind, she feels it is a service she owes to all mankind to seek out, encourage and sustain every willing effort contributing to fruitful, just and peaceful coexistence between peoples.

Your Conference is studying and endeavouring to solve many of the grave problems which torment the world, problems in which the Church sees the pressing appeal made by all human beings, men and women of every continent and land, for a world that will be more just, free from division and conflict, and in which individuals and peoples will enjoy equal respect and dignity.

Everyone’s conscience feels deeply the need to put into effect the right of all men to real equality, without distinction of race, culture or social condition; the aspiration of the peoples to dispose of their own destinies in order to participate with equal dignity in the enjoyment of the benefits placed at the disposal of the human family, and to share with freedom of decision in the undertakings of international society; everyone is hopeful that vast economic and technical resources, still alas absorbed in the sterile field of armaments, may be freed for a generous contribution to the progress of mankind. It is clear that these problems demand detailed and arduous study. The solution still seems distant, almost utopian.

But the human values involved in them are of such vital importance that no effort of good will, no sacrifice can be shirked in order to attain it. And that activity has all the greater concrete possibilities, the more extensive, persevering and coordinated is the effort that sustains it.

It seems to us that such cooperation for the lofty aims of peace can be effective above all if it draws inspiration from the ethical principle that each people should recognize that others should enjoy what it claims for itself. This inspiration is in fact to be seen as one of the basic principles guiding this Conference. Such recognition must be given to respect for the sovereignty and national dignity of each, the renunciation of the use of force in international relations, the refusal to cooperate in the injustices done by any nation, great or small, to another, the renunciation of exclusive or oppressive nationalistic tendencies. Inspired in this way, the joint effort of many countries is capable of developing a beneficial force which will become a great constructive power for peace, independently of the possibilities, great or small, at the disposal of each country individually.

As the beginning of the Second Development Decade approaches, and the international programmes are being worked out for that demanding enterprise, there emerges ever more clearly the requirement that human values should have primacy over economic and technical considerations.

The cooperation being planned in that sector between the countries participating in the Lusaka Conference will certainly be able to contribute to providing suggestions, indications and proposals of considerable importance. Similarly, the capability of the non-aligned countries to develop between themselves and with other peoples the principles of dignity and peaceful cooperation which they hope for will be able to find an echo, with wider persuasive and authoritative effect, in the assembly of international society, to uphold its institutions, enterprises and its authority, which are all placed at the service of world peace.

It has been Our wish, Mister President, to express these thoughts to you, as a spontaneous reflection on Our part and as a hope and wish which We sincerely have at heart. And together with Our good wish, and the assurance of Our humble daily prayer to the Almighty, it has been Our desire to give expression to all the deferential respect that We have for Your Excellency, for your noble Nation, and for all the Countries taking part in the Conference. It has, finally, been Our wish to express the interest with which We follow this Conference, and every other undertaking for the cause of peace.

From the Vatican, 8th September 1970


*AAS 62 (1970), p.637-639.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VIII, p.849-851.

L'Osservatore Romano, 10.9.1970, p.1.

ORa n.38 p.3.


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