New York Times Letter (1911): Carnegie Refutes Suggestion That The Peace Fund Means War With Germany

The Taft treaties which Andrew Carnegie defends in his New York Times Letter of February 21, 1911 were an attempt to find a practical and acceptable formula for settling international disputes through peaceful arbitration.

Before he became president, the idea of international peace, was at best a perfunctory concern of William Howard Taft.  According to historian John P. Campbell writing in the Journal of American History, Taft’s few references to foreign policy were “flat and unimaginative.” A 1910 speech by Taft proposing to arbitrate disputes between countries was said to have been intended to offset the opposition of “Carnegie and other peace cranks” to four new battleship proposed in the Naval Appropriations Bill.

In a 2006 interview, Andrew Carnegie biographer David Nasaw said that while Carnegie campaigned for naval disarmament, his company, Carnegie Steel, made millions and millions outfitting American battleships with steel armor. The company even established an office in St. Petersburg to do the same for the Czar's navy, and eventually attempted to move into Asia to outfit the Japanese navy. But, while making those millions, on the one hand, Carnegie campaigned for full naval disarmament on the other.