(Saudis remember FDR’s broken promise – Baltimore Sun) Roosevelt spelled out this promise in a letter to King Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud on April 5, 1945:
“Your Majesty will recall that on previous occasions I communicated to you the attitude of the American Government toward Palestine and made clear our desire that no decision be taken with respect to the basic situation in that country without full consultation with both Arabs and Jews. … [D]uring our recent conversation I assured you that I would take no action, in my capacity as Chief of the Executive Branch of this Government, which might prove hostile to the Arab people.“
…when Roosevelt made this promise about Palestine, it never occurred to Ibn Saud that another president could come along and break that promise.???????
But Roosevelt died a week after sending the letter to Ibn Saud.
Harry S. Truman, Roosevelt’s successor, came to office suddenly and unexpectedly.
Truman placed the United States forcefully and decisively in support of the partition of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state in 1948. The sentiments of the king of Saudi Arabia were not considered important.
“I’m sorry, gentlemen,” Truman explained to worried Arabists. “But I have to answer to hundreds of thousands of people who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.”
(Saudis remember FDR’s broken promise – Baltimore Sun) The meeting took place in February 1945 aboard the USS Quincy, a destroyer, in the Great Bitter Lake of the Suez Canal, where Roosevelt stopped on his way home from the Yalta Conference with Churchill and Stalin.
Ibn Saud was brought to the rendezvous aboard the USS Murphy, a cruiser, along with an extraordinary cargo, though not nearly as strange as it might have been if the king had had his way. Ibn Saud had arrived at the dock with an entourage of about 200 men, plus quite a few women from his harem.
The captain of the Murphy was appalled. He warned the king’s entourage of problems that might arise with women aboard a naval vessel manned by a crew that had been at sea and at war for a long time. The women were left behind. The king brought a retinue of 48, including coffee servers, cooks and six huge Nubians with swords.