|07-30-2006, 02:17 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jan 2004
An historical perspective
In February 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake of the Suez Canal. The Quincy had transported Roosevelt across the Atlantic on a secret mission to meet Stalin and Churchill at the famous Yalta conference. He then proceeded to the Suez Canal for what would be the first meeting of the heads of state of the United States and Saudi Arabia. During this meeting, the foundation was laid for the diplomatic relationships America currently enjoys with its allies in the Middle East. Unlike the voluminous treaty agreements of today, this foundation was built on the handshake and verbal commitment of two great leaders.
Albert Levesque was a crew member on the Quincy and recently provided an extraordinary firsthand account of part of that meeting.
"The king walked right up to Roosevelt and shook his hand," Levesque recalled. "They hit it off right away," he said. "I remember the king telling Roosevelt, 'You'll never have to worry about oil.' I was standing right there and heard it with my own ears."
FDR likewise assured the king he would never have to worry about protection from his enemies. So began a 60-year relationship between our two countries and the broader Middle East that remains as important, perhaps even more so, today as it was in 1945.