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The Day That Richard Nixon Met Elvis Presley

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The Day That Richard Nixon Met Elvis Presley

According to the National Security Archive, out of the thousands of reports, files, and photographs, one set of items gets requested more often than any other. It’s probably not what you’d expect.

The website states, “That item, more requested than the Bill of Rights or even the Constitution of the United States, is the photograph of Elvis Presley and Richard M. Nixon shaking hands on the occasion of Presley’s visit to the White House.”

This meeting took place on December 21, 1970 at the request of Presley himself. The King of Rock-and-Roll requested to be made a “Federal Agent-at-Large” in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Below are some of the more interesting images the site has to offer.

The Handwritten letter from Elvis to Nixon requesting the meeting.

The initial meeting between Presley and Nixon. Notice how the “King” does not even remove his sunglasses in the presence of the president. Also, he is carrying several gifts for the President. One of which was a Colt 45.

However, it seems that Presley is more proud of the autographed photo of himself.

Nevertheless, it seems that Nixon was just as impressed with the autographed photo, too.

It seems that the president also took a shine to Elvis Presley’s cufflinks, too.

Overall, it appeared to have been a pleasant meeting for both Presley and Nixon, as indicated in Nixon’s thank you letter.

Even though both parties enjoyed the meeting, the White House was not sold on Presley’s appointment. One memo suggested that the president was seriously concerned about the singer’s credibility. While in another memo, when it was mentioned that Elvis would be a good ambassador between the White House and America’s youth, someone hand-wrote in the margin of the document, “You must be kidding.”
To view the other photographs are to read the documents that chronicle the meeting, visit the entire National Security Archive collection.

Originally published on

  • Lisa Renn

    He didn’t remove his sunglasses?  Those were prescription glasses.

  • Anonymous

    Lisa, what makes you say that? From what I hear the only time he ever wore glasses was for a short period in the 5th grade.

  • Chrisclarke48

    Actually he did remove his sun glasses, take a look at the bottom picture

  • Loylk

    Awesome, historical, factual, and entertaining article… Very appreciated and enjoyed!

  • Cory Cooper

    There is a movie out there if you can find it called “Elvis Meets Nixon” that was made for Showtime in 1997. Its part truth, part Hollywood about this amazing meeting.

    Cory Cooper
    Elvis Historian and Media Consultant

  • Chrisclarke48

    Thank you Cory, I will try and find it, would be very interesting.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right, eventually he did!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Loylk!

  • Anonymous

    Great, looks interesting. Thanks Cory!

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