At the beginning of the century, Andrew Carnegie renewed his long-standing interest in world peace. "I am drawn more to this cause than to any," he wrote in 1907. Like other leading internationalists of his day, Carnegie believed that war could be eliminated by stronger international laws and organizations. Between 1900 and 1914, he gave generously in support of this belief, including $1.5 million in 1903 for the construction of the Peace Palace at The Hague. Carnegie's single largest commitment in this field was his creation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
On his seventy-fifth birthday, November 25, 1910, Carnegie announced the establishment of the Endowment with a gift of $10 million. He selected 28 trustees who were leaders in American business and public life, among them Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot; philanthropist Robert S. Brookings; former Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph H. Choate; former Secretary of State John W. Foster; former president of MIT and then-president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Henry S. Pritchett; and Carnegie Institution president Robert S. Woodward.
In his deed of gift, presented in Washington on December 14, 1910, Carnegie charged trustees to use the fund to "hasten the abolition of international war, the foulest blot upon our civilization," and he gave his trustees "the widest discretion as to the measures and policy they shall from time to time adopt" in carrying out the purpose of the fund.