Texas 175: A Dozen Documents That Made a Difference

The Public Treaty of Velasco

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On April 21, 1836, the forces of the Mexican army under General Santa Anna were handed a decisive defeat by the Texans at San Jacinto. Dressed as a common soldier, Santa Anna attempted to flee, but was taken prisoner the following day.

On May 14, Santa Anna signed two peace treaties with interim Texas president David G. Burnet. The public treaty consisted of ten articles; a second, secret treaty consisted of six additional articles. The secret agreement was to be carried out when the public treaty had been fulfilled.

The public treaty provided that hostilities would cease and that Santa Anna would withdraw his forces below the Rio Grande and not take up arms again against Texas. In addition, he also pledged to restore property that had been confiscated by the Mexicans. Both sides promised to exchange prisoners on an equal basis. The Texans would send Santa Anna back to Mexico and would not pursue the retreating Mexican troops.

In the secret agreement, the Texans agreed to release Santa Anna immediately in exchange for his pledge to use his influence to secure Mexican recognition of Texas independence. Santa Anna would not only withdraw all troops and not take up arms against Texas again, but would arrange for a favorable reception by the Mexican government of a Texas mission and a treaty of commerce. The Texas border would be the Rio Grande.

On May 26, General Vicente Filisola began withdrawing Mexican troops in fulfillment of the public treaty. However, the Texas army blocked Santa Anna's release by the Texas government. Moreover, the Mexican government refused to accept the treaties on the grounds that Santa Anna had signed them as a captive. Since the treaties had now been violated by both sides, they never took effect. Mexico was not to recognize Texas independence until the U.S.-Mexican War was settled by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

Public Treaty of Velasco, 1836
---Public Agreement---

Articles of an agreement entered into between his Excellency
David G. Burnet of the President of the Republic of Texas of the
one part & His Excellency General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana
President General in Chief of the other part--

--Article 1st--

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna agrees that he will not take up arms nor
will he exercise his influence to cause them
to be taken up against the People of Texas during the present
War of Independance--


All hostilities between the Mexican & Texian troops wiill
cease immediately both on land & water--


The Mexican troops will evacuate the territory of Texas
passing to the other side of the Rio Grande del Norte


The Mexican Army in its retreat shall not take the
property of any person without his consent & just indem-
nification, using only such articles as may be necessary
for its subsistence; in cases when the owner may not be
present & remitting to the Commander in Chief of the Army of
Texas or to the Commissioners to be appointed for the adjustment
of such matters an account of the value of the property
consumed, the place where taken & the name of the

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The Treaty of Velasco (Public), May 14, 1836, Domestic correspondence, Texas Secretary of State general correspondence of the Department of State, Republic of Texas, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: May 24, 2022