and Nixon Documents
|Mondo tourism sometimes involves time travel
of the virtual kind in order to witness great moments in Mondo DC history.
Today, we enter precise coordinates into our time machine. Place: White
House Oval Office. Time: 12:30 pm, December 21, 1970. Event: Elvis Presley
meets President Richard Nixon in a bid to become a special agent in the
war against drugs.
Time to back up. How and why exactly did the King meet
the Prez on this fateful day? It seems that Elvis had a few hours to spare
on a stopover in the Nation�s Capital, and he got to thinking. What if
a popular entertainer, one with unprecedented influence over this great
nation's youth, were to press the cause of a drug-free America? And what
if he were to do so in an official capacity? Not as a mere private citizen,
of course, or even as a good will ambassador or special cabinet appointee.
This is the King, after all, and he had a special role in mind for himself:
Elvis naturally figured he�d be perfect for the job. So
he grabbed some of the American Airlines stationary lying around and drafted
a letter to the Prez. And he sent it over to the White House by special
delivery, with himself acting as postman. A few excerpts:
"I talked to Vice President Agnew in Palm Springs 3 weeks
ago and expressed concern for our country. The drug culture, the hippie
elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do NOT consider me as their enemy
or as they call it The Establishment. I call it America and I love it�I
will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal
Agent. I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing
techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing�."
Meeting this apparition wearing large shades, thick sideburns
and coiffed hair, tight pants and a flashy peacoat, the White House
guards scanned his communique and did what comes naturally in such situations.
They sent him on through the bureaucratic chain of White House staffers,
a trail marked out in memorandums from each party along the way. A White
House Aide, Egil Krogh, thought this meeting of King and Prez had possibilities
for "meeting some bright young people outside of the Government." Chief
of Staff Joseph Haldeman disagreed in a scribbled note: "You must be kidding."
Nonetheless, the King followed his natural course and went all the way
to the top.
And the rest is history. We know this because the photos
prove it to be so: the King and the Prez side by side in the oval office,
grey flannel suit-and-tie G-man and the pop star resplendent in open-necked
white shirt, gargantuan belt buckle, brass-buttoned black coat. The handshake.
The display of family photos. The shoulder-to-shoulder poses under
the flags of the republic, indicating a shared resolve to purge the hippie
influence from the land. And of course, the King passing Nixon the ultimate
peace offering among warriors, a handgun. Or more specifically, as Nixon
noted in his thank-you letter, a "commemorative World War II Colt 45 pistol,
encased in the handsome wooden chest." Nixon was impressed. In fact, he
remarked that it was an "impressive gift."
Incredible as such a meeting may seem, the story gets
even weirder. Presley was indeed given a badge that same afternoon by the
Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. And Elvis�s mission must have
been very covert, because he White House actually kept the Elvis/Nixon
nexus a secret for over a year, until the Washington Post broke the story
You don�t have to take my word for it. You can see Elvis�
original letter. And all the memos trailing from it. Plus all the pix that
come almost like frame-by-frame stills from a film documenting this Historic
Meeting. The National Archives preserves these treasures in hard copy form,
but you don�t have to go there to see them. Just hop on the virtual time
machine that is this web link and ride back to the Nixon Oval Office yourself.
Tell the King MondoDC sent you.