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Elvis meets with Nixon at the White House (1970)

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Below is the official written summary of the meeting between Elvis Presley and President Richard Nixon that took place shortly after The King sent a handwritten letter to the POTUS relating to his concern for America — specifically mentioning “the drug culture, the hippie elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc.” (Read the whole letter here: Elvis asks President Nixon to make him a Federal agent.)

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THE WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON

December 21, 1970


MEMORANDUM FOR:THE PRESIDENT’S FILE
SUBJECT:
December 21, 1970
12:30 p. m.
Meeting with Elvis Presley
Monday, December 21, 1970
12:30 p. m.

The meeting opened with pictures taken of the President and Elvis Presley.

Presley immediately began showing the President his law enforcement paraphernalia including badges from police departments in California, Colorado and Tennessee. Presley indicated that he had been playing Las Vegas and the President indicated that he was aware of how difficult it is to perform in Las Vegas.

The President mentioned that he thought Presley could reach young people, and that it was important for Presley to retain his credibility. Presley responded that be did his thing by “just singing.” He said that he could not get to the kids if he made a speech on the stage, that he had to reach them in his own way. The President nodded in agreement.

Presley indicated that he thought the Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit. He said that the Beatles came to this country, made their money, and then returned to England where they promoted an anti-American theme. The President nodded in agreement and expressed some surprise. The President then indicated that those who use drugs are also those in the vanguard of anti-American protest. Violence, drug usage, dissent, protest all seem to merge in generally the same group of young people.

Presley indicated to the President in a very emotional manner that he was “on your side.” Presley kept repeating that he wanted to be helpful, that he wanted to restore some respect for the flag which was being lost. He mentioned that he was just a poor boy from Tennessee who had gotten a lot from his country, which in some way he wanted to repay. He also mentioned that he is studying Communist brainwashing and the drug culture for over ten years. He mentioned that he knew a lot about this and was accepted by the hippies. He said he could go right into a group of young people or hippies and be accepted which he felt could be helpful to him in his drug drive. The President indicated again his concern that Presley retain his credibility.

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At the conclusion of the meeting, Presley again told the President how much he supported him, and then, in a surprising, spontaneous gesture, put his left arm around the President and hugged him.

In going out, Presley asked the President if he would see his two associates. The President agreed and they came over and shook hands with the President briefly. At this meeting, the President thanked them for their efforts and again mentioned his concern for Presley’s credibility.

Bud Krogh

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Below: Nixon meeting Elvis Presley and his associates, Jerry Schilling and Sonny West

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