FDR SHIPBOARD MEETING WITH SAUDI KING IBN SAUD: 15 FEBRUARY 1945

January 13, 2009 at 1:11 am | Posted in Economics, Financial, Globalization, Middle East, Oil & Gas, Palestine, USA | 2 Comments

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King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) confers with the then President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, on a cruiser in the Suez Canal, 15 Feb 1945

Ibn Saud meets American President Roosevelt (1)

The meeting of the American President, close to victory in the Second World War, and the most important Arab leader of his time was an event of great historical importance.

Ibn Saud met President Roosevelt on board the U.S.S. Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake of the Suez Canal. (President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were returning from their meeting with Stalin at Yalta.)

The meeting was instigated by President Roosevelt who hoped that Ibn Saud might be able to offer constructive advice on the Palestine issue. The President recounted at some length the dreadful oppression the Jews had suffered under the Nazis and explained the determination of the Zionists (whose political influence in the United States was considerable) to find land which would give the Jews security at last.

Ibn Saud’s response was soundly reasoned. If the Jews were to be compensated for the outrages perpetrated against them, then it should be the perpetrators who carried the cost. If the United States and its allies wished to see the Jews settled on land of their own, then it should be German land that was appropriated.

Ibn Saud meets American President Roosevelt (2)

When Roosevelt broached the issue of Palestine, Ibn Saud was uncompromising. Why should the Palestinians be expected to atone for the sins of the Germans? Why should the United States look to its friends rather than to its enemies to make reparations for the crimes of its enemies?

Despite the differences of view, the meeting was conducted throughout with courtesy, with both men showing respect for each other’s customs. President Roosevelt was impressed by the simple clarity with which Ibn Saud presented the Arab case.

He gave two undertakings to Ibn Saud; first that he would do nothing to assist the Jews against the Arabs in Palestine and, secondly, that he would never do anything to harm the Arab people. He promised that the United States Government would not make any changes to its policy on Palestine without prior consultation with both the Arabs and the Jews.

These verbal assurances were confirmed in a letter, dated April 5th, 1945, in which Roosevelt made it clear that he was committing himself, not as an individual, but as “Chief of the Executive Branch” of the United States Government.

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Ibn Saud meets British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) attending official dinner with Sir Winston Churchill, Lake Qaroun, Egypt, 17 Feb 1945

Ibn Saud met the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the Grand Hotel du Lac on the shores of the Fayyoun Oasis, fifty miles south of Cairo.

This meeting proved less happy and less productive than Ibn Saud’s meeting with President Roosevelt. Churchill, who insisted on smoking and drinking alcohol throughout their discussions, attempted to link the assistance Britain had given to Ibn Saud over the years to the Palestine issue. He suggested that Ibn Saud should use his authority and influence to persuade the Arab world to accommodate Zionist aspirations. Churchill made no promises that Britain would temper its support for the Zionists with sensitivity to Arab rights. Ibn Saud found Churchill’s views entirely unacceptable.

King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) confers with the then President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, on a cruiser in the Suez Canal, 15 Feb 1945

King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) attending official dinner with Sir Winston Churchill, Lake Qaroun, Egypt, 17 Feb 1945

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  1. [...] President Franklin D Roosevelt met with King Saud aboard the warship USS Quincy in 1945, signs military and commercial agreements to exploit Saudi Arabia’s massive oil [...]


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