Opening Statement of Ambassador William B. Taylor
Before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
November 13, 2019
Mr. Chairman, I am appearing today at the Committee’s request to
provide my perspective on the events that are the subject of the
Committee’s inquiry. I want to emphasize at the outset that, while I am
aware that the Committee has requested my testimony as part of
impeachment proceedings, I am not here to take one side or the other, or
to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings. My sole
purpose is to provide facts as I know them about the incidents in
question as well as my views about the strategic importance of Ukraine
to the United States.
By way of background, it has been a privilege for me to serve our
country and the American people for more than fifty years, starting as a
cadet at West Point, then as an infantry officer for six years, including
with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam; then at the Department of
Energy; then as a member of a Senate staff; then at NATO; then with the
State Department here and abroad—in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jerusalem, and
Ukraine. I retired from the State Department in 2009 to join the U.S.
Institute of Peace.
I am neither a career member of the Foreign Service nor of the civil
service. I am non-partisan and have been appointed to my positions by
every president from President Reagan to President Trump.
Let me summarize my main points.
First, Ukraine is a strategic partner of the United States, important for
the security of our country as well as Europe. Ukraine is on the front line
in the conflict with a newly aggressive Russia.
Second, even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian
soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years. I saw
this on the front line last week; the day I was there a Ukrainian soldier
was killed and four were wounded.
Third, the security assistance we provide is crucial to Ukraine’s defense
and to the protect