Subject: Elvis Presley
Senator George Murphy (R-California) telephoned your office late yesterday to advise that captioned individual who is, of course, the prominent entertainer and motion picture personality, had accompanied him to Washington on a flight from Los Angeles and expressed interest in meeting the Director during his stay in Washington.
According to Senator Murphy, Presley, whom he described as being a very sincere young man, is deeply concerned over the narcotics problem in this country and is interested in becoming active in the drive against the use of narcotics, particularly by young people.
According to Senator Murphy in response to Presley's request, he Murphy, has arranged an appointment for Presley with John Ingersoll, Director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Senator Murphy advised that he was aware that the FBI has no jurisdiction in narcotics matters but wished to pass Presley's request to see Mr. Hoover along to the Director.
Senator Murphy was advised that the Director was out of the City and not expected to return until around the first of the year. Thereupon Senator Murphy requested that someone from the Bureau get in touch with Presley and express the Director's regrets.
This has been done and Presley expressed appreciation for the call noting that as he had advised Senator Murphy, he was becoming increasingly concerned with the dissident activities and use of narcotics by young people in this country and was desirous of doing whatever he could to be of service in alleviating this problem. Presley noted that his rise to prominence in the entertainment field is evidence of what can be accomplished in this country by the poor and the deprived. He said that his relative youth and his background in the entertainment industry has helped him establish rapport with the younger generation and that in gratitude for all this country has done for him he would like to be of service. In this regard he indicated that should the Bureau ever have need of his services he can be reached under the pseudonym of Colonel Jon Burrows, 3764 Highway 51, South, Memphis, Tennessee, telephone number EXT 4427.
Mr. William N. Morris, former Sheriff, Shelby County, Memphis, Tennessee, telephoned Assistant Director Casper from the Washington Hotel today and advised that he was in town with the well-known entertainer Elvis Presley and six other people in Presley's party and inquired concerning the possibility of a tour of our facilities and an opportunity to meet and shake hands with the Director tomorrow, 12-31-70. Morris indicated to Mr. Casper that Presley had just received an award from the President for his work in discouraging the use of narcotics among young people and for his assistance in connection with the other youth problems in the Beverly Hills, California, area.
Mr. Casper advised Morris that the Director was out of the city, however, that he, Casper, would see what could be done to arrange a tour for Morris, Presley and party. Morris advised that he could be reached at Room 702, Washington Hotel, telephone number 638-5900.
By memorandum dated 12-22-70, which is attached, you will recall that Senator George Murphy (Republican-Calfornia) telephoned your office on 12-21-70 and advised that Presley had accompanied him, Murphy, to Washington on a flight from Los Angeles and expressed interest in meeting the Director during his stay in Washington.
Murphy described Presley as a very sincere young man who was interested in becoming active in the drive against the use of narcotics, particularly by young people. Murphy indicated that he had arranged an appointment for Presley with John Ingersoll, Director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
Murphy was advised that the Director was out of the city and not expected to return until around the first of the year at which point he requested that someone from the Bureau get in touch with Presley and express the Director's regrets. This was done.
Bureau files reflect that Presley has been the victim in a number of extortion attempts which have been referred to the Bureau. Our files also reflect that he is presently involved in a paternity suit pending in Los Angeles, California, and that during the height of his popularity during the latter part of the 1950's and early 1960's his gyrations while performing were the subject of considerable criticism by the public and comment in the press. The files of the identification Division fail to reflect any arrest record for Presley.
Our Memphis Office advised that relations with former Sheriff Morris were excellent during the period he was in office, and that several men from his department were accepted for attendance at the FBI National Academy while he was Sheriff. According to Memphis, Morris is now associated with a public relations firm in that city, but that he has political ambitions and it is anticipated that he will eventually run for Mayor of Memphis.
Our files and the files of the Director's Office fail to reflect that the Director has ever met Presley or Morris.
Presley's sincerity and good intentions notwithstanding he is certainly not the type of individual whom the Director would wish to meet. It is noted at the present time he is wearing his hair down to his shoulders and indulges in the wearing of all sorts of exotic dress. A photograph of Presley clipped from today's "Washington Post" is attached and indicates Presley's personal appearance and manner of dress.
That the Director permit someone from your office to return former Sheriff Morris' call and advise him that while we will be pleased to afford him, Presley and their party a special tour of our facilities tomorrow, 12-31-70, that it will not be possible for the Director to see them.
[Editor's note: the newspaper photo has the caption "Entertainer Elvis Presley leaves Trinity Baptist Church in Memphis after serving as best man in the wedding of his chief security officer. Presley wears a (furry?) bell-bottomed suit. His fashion accessories include (solar?) glasses, a medallion around his neck and a flashlight."]
Presley and Morris and six individuals who provide security for Presley visited FBI Headquarters and were afforded a very special tour of our facilities in accordance with plans approved by the Director.
Regrets were expressed to Presley and his party in connection with their request to meet the Director. Presley indicated that he has long been an admirer of Mr. Hoover, and has read material prepared by the Director including "Masters of Deceit", "A Study of Communism" as well as "J. Edgar Hoover on Communism." Presley noted that in his opinion no one has ever done as much for his country as has Mr. Hoover, and that he, Presley, considers the Director the "greatest living American." He also spoke favorably of the Bureau.
Despite his rather bizarre personal appearance, Presley seemed a sincere, serious minded individual who expressed concern over some of the problems confronting our country, particularly those involving young people. In this regard, in private comments made following his tour, he indicated that he, Presley, is the "living proof that America is the land of opportunity" since he rose from truck driver to prominent entertainer almost overnight. He said that he spends as much time as his schedule permits informally talking to young people and discussing what they consider to be their problems with them. Presley stated that his long hair and unusual apparel were merely tools of his trade and provided access to and rapport with many people particularly on college campuses who considered themselves "anti-establishment." Presley said that while he has a limited education, he has been able to command a certain amount of respect and attention from this segment of the population and in an informal way point out the errors of their ways. He advised that he does not consider himself competent to address large groups but much rather prefers small gatherings in community centers and the like, where he makes himself accessible for talks and discussions regarding the evils of narcotics and other problems of concern to teenagers and other young people.
Following their tour, Presley privately advised that he has volunteered his services to the President in connection with the narcotics problem and that Mr. Nixon had responded by furnishing him an Agent's badge of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Presley was carrying this badge in his pocket and displayed it.
Presley advised that he wished the Director to be aware that he, Presley, from time to time is approached by individuals and groups in and outside of the entertainment business whose motives and goals he is convinced are not in the best interests of this country and who seek to have him to lend his name to their questionable activities. In this regard, he volunteered to make such information available to the Bureau on a confidential basis whenever it came to his attention. He further indicated that he wanted the Director to know that should the Bureaus ever have need of his services in any way that he would be delighted to be of assistance.
Presley indicated that he is of the opinion that the Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy unkempt appearances and suggestive music while entertaining in this country during the early and middle 1960's. He advised that the Smothers Brothers, Jane Fonda, and other persons in the entertainment industry of their ilk have a lot to answer for in the hereafter for the way they have poisoned young minds by disparaging the United States in their public statements and unsavory activities.
Presley advised that he resides at 3764 Highway 51, South, Memphis, Tennessee, but that he spends a substantial portion of his time in the Beverly Hills, California - Las Vegas, Nevada, areas fulfilling motion picture assignments and singing commitments.
He noted that he can be contacted anytime through his Memphis address and that because of problems he has had with people tampering with his mail, such correspondence should be addressed to him under the pseudonym, Colonel Jon Burrows.
It should be noted following their tour and prior to their departure from the building, Mr. Morris indicated that Presley had been recently selected by the Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of the "ten outstanding men" in the United States and that of these ten in a ceremony to be held in Memphis sometime in January, 1971, Presley would be named as the "most outstanding" of the ten. According to Morris, similar recognition was afforded President Nixon some 25 years ago and the late President Kennedy was also a recipient of this award.
Morris observed that he has known Presley for many years, that despite his manner of dress, he is a sober, clean minded young man who is good to his family and friends and who is very well regarded by all, including the law enforcement community in the Memphis, Tennessee, area where he was raised and still resides.
Presley, Morris, and their party expressed appreciation for the courtesies extended them.
Presley did give the impression of being a sincere, young man who is conscious of the many problems confronting this country. In view of his unique position in the entertainment business, his favorable comments concerning the Director and the Bureau, and his offer to be of assistance as well as the fact that he has been recognized by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the President, it is felt that a letter from the Director would be in order.
That the attached letter to Presley be approved and sent.
Mr. Elvis Presley
3764 Highway 51, South
Memphis Tennessee 38101
Dear Mr. Presley:
I regret that it was not possible for me
to see you and your party during your visit
to FBI headquarters; however, I do hope you
enjoyed your tour of our facilities.
Your generous comments concerning this
Bureau and me are appreciated, and you may
be sure we will keep in mind your offer
to be of assistance.
J. Edgar Hoover