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Nixon made a strong impression during his first interview with a FBI recruiting agent. He had a “good” (not “excellent”) appearance, dressed “neat” (not “flashy”), had “ordinary” features and had no “jowl physical defects.”
Sadly, due to a b(6) exemption, the section that listed which (if any) venereal diseases Nixon possessed has been redacted.
He was “self confident” and “well-poised,” but not “boastful.” He “quickly” answered questions in a “tactful” manner. In his spare time he said he took “an occasional social drink of liquor” and liked to play hand ball and poker. He was a poor typist but appeared to be “resourceful,” had no foreign accent, and -get this!- “perhaps” had “executive ability.”
Nixon’s character references were also glowing. A reference from Whittier College stated than Nixon had “unprecedented popularity.” A woman who rented him a room at Duke described him as “likable and trustworthy.” Nixon’s hometown neighbor described him as “a fine fellow who has never caused any trouble at any time.”
Despite his excellent application and references, Nixon did not get offered a job with the FBI. A 15 August 1937 form instructed the Bureau to, “cancel the appointment” with no explanation.
This FBI file certainly got one thing right: Dick Nixon possessed “outstanding ambition.”
In 1954 Nixon gave a graduation speech to the FBI National Academy in which he mentioned that “he never heard anything from that application.” After this, the FBI reopened his file and determined that Nixon was not granted an appointment because he had expressed interest in taking the California Bar exam, which –apparently– interfered with the FBI’s inflexible timetable.