Photos of RN meeting with Elvis Presley and band members in the Oval Office.

On this day 43 years ago, Rock n’ Roll royalty met the leader of the free world–two iconic figures, different in trade but similar in spirit–in an iconic event. The meeting was not previously planned nor a public relations strategy in the making. Rather, it was a spontaneous sequence of events that brought Elvis Presley into the Oval Office.

As indicated in a memorandum from Dwight Chapin to Bob Haldeman, Mr. Presley showed up to the White House in the morning of the 21st of December, bearing gifts (a Colt .45 WWII commemoration pistol and photos of his family) and a letter directed to President Nixon. The memorandum between the two Nixon aides can be viewed here:

Below is Elvis Presley’s 6-page letter, written on American Airlines notepad paper, requesting an audience with the President of the United States.

A transcription of the letter can be seen here:

Haldeman and Chapin agreed that a meeting between the President and Elvis would not be of the slightest issue. After all, word had been travelling around that Elvis was very pro President Nixon. White House staffer Bud Krogh was assigned to manage the meeting between the two.

Below is Krogh’s account of the meeting:

During the meeting, Presley entertained President Nixon on the idea that he might be able to support his effort in the fight against the drug epidemic. With his ability to reach young people, Presley pined, he could help “restore some respect for the flag which was being lost,”–namely in the young drug users who were so often on the front lines of anti-American protest.

At the end of the meeting, Presley reiterated his support of the President and in a spontaneous gesture and much to Nixon’s surprise, gave him a hug.