William Eddy was one of several devout Christians in the oil business who helped build a pivotal alliance in U.S. Middle East policy.
On February 14, 1945, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, his advisors, and United States Envoy William Eddy crossed the gangplank from the USS Murphy to the USS Quincy for the first ever meeting between a Saudi king and a U.S. president. Over lunch and the coffee that Ibn Saud personally served Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the two men struck an accord. Ibn Saud believed they were twins, close in age and burdened with similar responsibilities and infirmities (with the president paralyzed from the waist down by polio and the king hampered by war wounds). Their frailties bound them. Roosevelt gave Ibn Saud a wheelchair that matched his own. “This chair is my most precious possession,” Ibn Saud would later boast, “the gift of my great and good friend, President Roosevelt, on whom Allah has had mercy.”