History In Full Color | Politics | #37 Nixon and Elvis meet December 1970 - [NARA-1634221]
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#37 Nixon and Elvis meet December 1970 - [NARA-1634221]

#37 Nixon and Elvis meet December 1970 - [NARA-1634221]

"I guess it is not so bad to be overruled by the President." Deputy Director John Finlator, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs

Some people collect Elvis Presley memorabilia. Presley, on the other hand, collected genuine law enforcement badges. To acquire a hard to get badge, Presley went to the top - asking the President of the United States.

On Monday, December 21, 1970, just a few day before Christmas, in dawn's early morning light, Presley hand delivers a letter to the White House requesting a meeting with the President. In the letter he states he admires the President and wants to help his country out with the Drug Program by "communicating with people of all ages" as a "Federal Agent at Large".

Within a couple of hours, Dwight Chapman, Nixon's scheduling secretary and Egil "Bud" Krogh, the White House liaison with the Drug Program, manages to get approval for Presley to visit President Nixon during the one hour window reserved for "Drop Bys".

Presley felt that it would be important to present Nixon a gift. He brings with him a 45 caliber Colt model 1911 pistol, commemorating WWII, complete with six rounds of ammunition in a display case that was hanging on his office wall. He arrives at the White House with his friend Jerry Schilling and body guard Sonny West.

During the visit Presley shows the President pictures of his wife, daughter and some of his badges from different law enforcement departments.

Nixon shows Presley the cuff links he is wearing that was a gift from the Vice-President.

To aid his efforts to get Americans to stop using illegal drugs, Presley asks, "Mr. President, can you get me a badge for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs?

Nixon agrees, telling Krogh, "Get him a badge. I want him to have one."

Earlier that very morning, Deputy Director John Finlator of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs had turned down Presley's in person request for a badge. While Krogh, Presley and his companions ate lunch in the White House Mess, as per the President, a genuine badge was sent to the White House for Presley.

Today, the badge is on display at Graceland in Memphis. The pistol Presley gave the President is on display at the Nixon Library.