I got an assignment to translate the following text into Russian:
But nothing in Voroshilov's carefully chosen words or courteous demeanor suggested the feverish activity in Berlin and Moscow that was turning the military conference into an empty tableau vivant. On the contrary, Voroshilov was bland but insistent. He patiently explained that while he had full powers to conclude an agreement, there could be none unless the Poles agreed that he could engage the invader through Poland. He was never to get what he wanted or, at least, what he said he wanted.
I got stuck with the last sentence. My mind just can't come up with anything good enough to meet the standards of my teacher, with the main difficulty being to say "what he said he wanted." What comes to mind is as clumsy and awful as this:
Ему было суждено никогда не получить то, что он хотел или, по крайней мере, что он, по его словам, хотел.
I see no way of expressing "what he said he wanted" without resorting to introductory clauses like по его словам or как он говорил, but such clauses are perceived as an omittable clarification and thus don't seem to be a good fit here.
As a separate issue, I'm unsure how to best express "he was never to get" in Russian in this context.
How would native Russian speakers translate that sentence?
UPDATE: I just did research to understand the context, and it turns out that the context helps understand the true meaning of the last sentence. I just posted an answer below with my current translation of the entire excerpt.