It was as early as in 1949 that the US Congress first resolved to authorize the India League of America, or any other organization which may be organized for this purpose, to erect a memorial testifying to the wisdom and leadership of Mohandas K. Gandhi as philosopher and statesman, in the city of Washington, DC.
Efforts to establish a memorial were revived in 1987 by the Indian-American Forum for Political Education and these succeeded to the extent of getting a bill passed unanimously by the House of Representatives in 1988.
India was celebrating 50 years of independence in 1997. As part of this celebration, it was resolved to set up a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi in the National Capital of the US. Through the sustained efforts of the Embassy of India and Indian-Americans, members of US Congress passed the necessary legislation in October, 1998.
The site options and design plans for the Memorial were submitted through the National Park Service for approval of the prescribed authorities by the Embassy of India.
The National Capital Memorial Commission recommended the site chosen for the Memorial. The National Park Service concurred in this recommendation and submitted the proposed site for the approval of the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission.
The National Capital Planning Commission chaired by Mr. Harvey B. Gantt approved the site and the building plans for the Memorial on August 5, 1999.
The Commission of Fine Arts chaired by Mr. J. Carter Brown reviewed the site proposed for the Memorial on May 20, 1999. The Commission held many meetings during 1999-2000 to consider the proposal and approved the design and inscriptions on February 17, 2000.