[Congressional Record Volume 147, Number 17 (Wednesday, February 7, 2001)]
[Page H207]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  (Mr. UDALL of New Mexico asked and was given permission to address 
the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize an 
important anniversary of the United States: 153 years ago, the United 
States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This treaty 
sought to protect the property rights of those who remained in the 
United States and became United States citizens.
  There is now substantial evidence there were many violations of this 
treaty's provisions. The GAO has undertaken an investigation to get to 
the heart of this important matter. This situation cries out for 
  I urge all my colleagues to follow this study closely so we can bring 
justice to this issue.
  Mr. Speaker, February 2nd marks the 153d anniversary of the signing 
of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 
ended the Mexican War, and ceded to the United States what is now 
California, Arizona and New Mexico. The Treaty also recognized U.S. 
claims over Texas, with the Rio Grande as its southern boundary.
  In turn, the United States paid Mexico $15,000,000, and among other 
things, agreed to recognize prior land grants issued by Spain and 
Mexico to individuals, communities, and indigenous pueblo people. Thus, 
during the 50 years that followed the signing, numerous procedures were 
developed to evaluate and validate the land grants.
  However, the change in sovereignty in 1848 brought together two 
different legal systems--the Spanish/Mexican and the Anglo-American. 
These competing legal systems resulted in the inability of the United 
States to properly recognize and honor the role that custom played in 
preserving the lands and waters in accordance with Spanish and Mexican 
  Mr. Speaker, this along with other facts, suggests that the manner in 
which these private and communal land grants were evaluated by the U.S. 
Courts and by Congress, did not satisfy the obligations assumed by the 
United States when we signed the treaty. To address this issue, the GAO 
has embarked on a study of whether the United States fulfilled its 
obligations under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo with regard to land 
grants made by Spain and Mexico. I am pleased that the initial exposure 
draft was recently completed, and I believe that this ongoing study is 
a proper step in addressing the numerous issues regarding the Treaty 
and its implementation.
  Mr. Speaker, the issues that have evolved from the signing of the 
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo center on the concept of fairness and 
justice. Thus, I ask that all Americans acknowledge the 153d 
anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, by recognizing the many 
issues that remain to be properly addressed in order to assure a fair 
evaluation of the land grant claims.