Historical Context: Timeline of U.S. - Saudi Relations
With an alliance nearly a century old — reaching back to the start of oil exploration in the Kingdom in 1933, only a year after its official founding in 1932 — the United States and Saudi Arabia share a strong history of cooperation and friendship.
Since those early days of American oil exploration, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have collaborated on many important global issues that actually go far beyond the simplistic view that the partnership is transactional and based solely on a trade of energy access in return for security.
Today the alliance is entering a new era as Saudi Arabia transforms its once oil-based economy into a socially and economically revitalized, productivity-based nation with a broad range of new business opportunities.
Following the Yalta Conference in 1945, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt boarded the USS Quincy and steamed south towards the Suez Canal for a secret meeting.
The Quincy was a Baltimore class heavy cruiser that had been retrofitted for a Presidential cruise. Upon arrival at Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal, Roosevelt met secretly with King Abdulaziz, the country’s founding king.
The meeting was arranged by Colonel Bill Eddy, who is described by historian Thomas Lippman as, “the nearest thing the United States has to Lawrence of Arabia”. Colonel Eddy was a highly decorated Marine WWI combat veteran who received two Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, the Navy Cross, and the Distinguished Service Cross and who in 1945 was serving as America's first Minister Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Eddy was also the great-uncle of our founder, Ken Close. Their family had come to Lebanon in 1851, staying continuously in the region for 165 years as missionaries, educators, doctors, diplomats and businessmen.
During WWII, Eddy was the OSS chief for North Africa and managed the intelligence side of Operation Torch, among other missions. A fluent Arabic speaker, he became a close personal friend of King Abdulaziz during his time there as FDR's emissary. At the King’s request, Eddy served as the interpreter for both leaders during their meeting aboard the Quincy and the two heads of state developed an instant rapport with each other.
Although President Roosevelt died only weeks after this historic meeting, it proved to be an auspicious beginning to over seven decades of unique friendship between the two countries.
Today, The Quincy Group continues to be one of the few trusted and knowledgeable foreign consulting companies operating in Saudi Arabia with a unique understanding of the nation’s culture, customs and business environment.