The President asked His Majesty for his advice regarding the problem of Jewish refugees driven from their homes in Europe. The Jews whose homes were completely destroyed and who have no chance of livelihood in their homelands should be given living space in the Axis countries which oppressed them. The President remarked that Poland might be considered a case in point. The Germans appear to have killed three million Polish Jews, by which count there should be space in Poland for the resettlement of many homeless Jews.

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It was the dawn of what is now the longest U. Today the relationship is in decline, perhaps terminally, and needs recasting. FDR and Ibn Saud, as they were known popularly, could not have been more different. FDR was in his fourth term as the elected president of the most powerful country in the world, and on the eve of winning World War II. He had traveled the world and was returning from the Yalta summit with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin. He was gravely ill and had only weeks to live.

His blood pressure was over But he was convinced that Saudi Arabia would be crucial to America in the post-war world, thanks to its oil. Ibn Saud had never been to sea before, or outside the Arabian Peninsula except for a brief trip to Basra, Iraq.

He was a warrior who had created the modern Saudi kingdom through endless battles. He had little experience in international diplomacy. He was an absolute monarch backed by the fanatical Wahhabi clergy. But he had sent two of his sons, Faisal and Khaled, to America in to meet Roosevelt, tour across the country, and report home that America was the strongest and most advanced country in the world. The substance of this meeting on the Quincy was dominated by a disagreement over the future of Palestine: FDR argued for a Jewish state, and Ibn Saud protested that the Jews should get their state in Bavaria.

But the substance was secondary to the good atmosphere of the session. They exchanged gifts and left very impressed with each other. The relationship has had ups and downs but every American president has courted the Saudis. None has been as accommodating — even sycophantic — than Donald Trump. He has praised the Saudis for buying American weapons that they have not actually purchased.

Worst, the administration has ignored the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The execution was the work of the Saudi state, according to the United Nations investigation , and the mastermind was the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The president has absolved his favorite. The crown prince is toxic, his reputation permanently stained. And the bargain struck on the Quincy is out of date. The Saudis were literally shaken out of their complacency, and their acute vulnerability was exposed to all. The next president should bring American troops home immediately from the kingdom and cut off all military support to the Saudis, at least until there is a permanent political settlement in Yemen.

Saudi diplomatic facilities in the United States should be shut or stripped down because they are used to spy on dissidents like Khashoggi. Saudi soldiers in the U. The Saudis should understand that anyone implicated in the Khashoggi murder will not be welcome in the U. The attorney general should review what judicial process may apply to the case. All of this should be part of a larger review of policy toward the region to reduce our military footprint and use more diplomacy.

Iran should be engaged, and the Iran nuclear deal should be revived and strengthened. A serious political process between Israel and the Palestinians should be initiated, not the sham deal announced by this administration. It will certainly be challenging, but it is time for fundamental changes.

Order from Chaos. A how-to guide for managing the end of the post-Cold War era. Related Books. Kings and Presidents By Bruce Riedel.

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F D R Meets Ibn Saud

When Churchill learned of the meetings, he hastened to schedule talks of his own. But a change was already under way. In both Republicans and Democrats vied for Jewish votes with pro-Zionist planks in their campaign platforms. Historian Robert Rosen and others point out that Roosevelt had also privately promised his Jewish friends to try to solve the problem of Palestine before the war was over.


How FDR Charmed a Saudi King and Won U.S. Access to Oil

A secret war-time meeting. Fear of an oil shortage. An exchange of gifts including a wheelchair and a budding friendship. When Franklin D. Navy destroyer in the Suez Canal , it was the first time a U. The principal reason for the meeting, which lasted several hours, according to Scott Montgomery, author and affiliate faculty member in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, had to do with the prospect of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East, with Roosevelt trying to persuade the king to accept 10, Jews in Palestine.





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