Mr. Speaker, on May 14th, 1836, Texas officially became a free and independent nation. After the decisive victory at San Jacinto a few weeks earlier, interim Texas president David G. Burnett met with the defeated Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in the town of Velasco.
Under the heat of the Texas sun, the two leaders signed treaties on behalf of their governments. Little known to the general public, two treaties were signed.
The first would be released to the public, with the second secretive treaty only to be released once the first treaty was fulfilled. The public treaty forced Santa Anna to withdraw his forces from Texas and forbade him from attacking Texas again.
Additionally, he promised to restore confiscated property to Texans that had been taken by his forces during the campaign. The second, secret agreement would literally go on to shape Texas as we know and love her today.
The treaty held that the Rio Grande River would officially become the border between Texas and Mexico. Santa Anna also agreed to the arrangement of a treaty of commerce between his country and the new Republic of Texas as well as the establishment of diplomatic missions in both countries.
Mr. Speaker, this treaty represents an important moment in the history of Texas. Following the example of George Washington, who deferred to the judgement of the civilian government rather than dictating terms as commander-in-chief of the army, General Sam Houston refused to engage Santa Anna himself in talks about the treaty.
Rather, he fulfilled his legal obligation and insisted that the Mexican leader speak only with the Texas government about the terms of the treaty. By keeping his nerve, General Houston put the Texas Republic in a position to negotiate a meaningful and lasting peace with their Mexican adversaries.
Sure enough, Texas got exactly what it wanted in the Treaty. The grand Republic of Texas sprung to life, as an independent, sovereign nation.
Mr. Speaker, as a resident and representative of some of the residents of the city named after the Founding Father of Texas, it brings me great pride to recognize the Treaties of Velasco not only as an important event for the state of Texas but also for the United States as a whole.
And that is just the way it is.