- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2007

YORBA LINDA, Calif. (AP) — The meeting between two of the most improbable cultural icons of the 1970s lasted all of 30 minutes, but it has fascinated the nation for years.

A photo of a cloaked and bejeweled Elvis Presley solemnly shaking hands with President Nixon remains the No. 1 requested document from the National Archives, more than 3 decades after the secret meeting took place on Dec. 21, 1970.

Now, on what would be the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s 72nd birthday, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Birthplace is giving the curious public a good, long look at the relics of the coming together of the King and the president — and it’s got Elvis fans all shook up.

The free exhibit yesterday included the outfit Elvis wore (a black velvet overcoat, a gold-plated belt and black leather boots), Nixon’s outfit (a gray woolen suit, tie and size 11 black shoes), letters and a World War II .45-caliber Colt that Elvis gave to Nixon.

“The two of them together somehow is almost incomprehensible,” said Egil “Bud” Krogh, Mr. Nixon’s one-time deputy counsel, who set up the impromptu meeting that day 36 years ago. “The king of rock and the president of the United States shaking hands in the Oval Office doesn’t compute for a lot of people.”

The chain of events that led to the meeting began when a stretch limousine carrying Elvis pulled up outside the White House. One of his guards handed over a letter from Elvis addressed to Mr. Nixon requesting a meeting to discuss how the rock star could help Mr. Nixon fight drugs — including getting credentials as a “federal agent at large.”

“I will be here as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent,” Elvis wrote. “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 where I can and will do the most good.”

The Secret Service agents alerted Mr. Krogh. A self-confessed Elvis fan, Mr. Krogh met with Elvis, decided he was sincere and scrambled to get him into a noon meeting with Mr. Nixon.

About 2 hours later, Elvis walked into the Oval Office wearing his flamboyant outfit, as well as sunglasses and two huge medallions. But when Elvis entered the Oval Office, Mr. Krogh recalls, he froze.

“I think he was just awed by where he found himself. I ended up having to help him walk across over to the president’s desk,” he said.

Elvis and Mr. Nixon talked for about 30 minutes, during which Elvis showed Mr. Nixon pictures of his daughter and a pair of cufflinks given to him by Vice President Spiro Agnew. He also showed Mr. Nixon police badges from around the country and asked again for a badge from the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Mr. Nixon agreed to give him the badge — but only after learning that the chief of the narcotics bureau had turned down the same request earlier that day and told him the only person who could overrule his decision was the president.

“Oh, man, we were set up. But it was fun,” Mr. Krogh said. “He said all the right words about trying to do the right thing, and I took him at his word, but I think he clearly wanted to get a badge, and he knew the only way he was going to get it.”

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