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Carol Laise

Carol Laise

Caroline Clendening Laise (November 14, 1917 – July 25, 1991)[1] was an American civil servant, ambassador to Nepal and the first female Assistant Secretary of State.

Carol Laise
United States Ambassador to Nepal
In office
December 5, 1966  June 5, 1973
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Preceded byHenry E. Stebbins
Succeeded byWilliam I. Cargo
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
In office
October 10, 1973  March 27, 1975
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byMichael Collins
Succeeded byJohn Reinhardt
Personal details
Caroline Clendening Laise

(1917-11-14)November 14, 1917
Winchester, Virginia, U.S.
DiedJuly 25, 1991(1991-07-25) (aged 73)
Dummerston, Vermont, U.S.
(m. 1967; died 1984)
EducationAmerican University (BA)
George Washington University (MA)

Early life and education

Born in Winchester, Virginia, to Elizabeth Frances (née Stevens) and James Frederic Laise.[2] She received a Bachelor of Arts in public administration in 1938 from American University,[2] where she was a member of the Gamma Delta chapter of Phi Mu Fraternity. She later received a Master of Arts in political science from George Washington University in 1940.[3][4]


Laise began her career in government as a coder for the Civil Service Commission in 1940. She had a position in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for a short time before joining the State Department in 1948. She was an adviser from 1956 to 1961, and in 1962 became deputy director of the Bureau of South Asian Affairs.

In 1965, Laise traveled to India and Pakistan as an adviser to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. After a year in New Delhi, President Lyndon B. Johnson named her ambassador to Nepal in 1966, a position she held until 1973.[3]

In October 1973, she became Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, and in 1974 became director general of the Foreign Service, until her retirement in 1977.[5]

Personal life

On January 3, 1967 she married 72-year-old ambassador-at-large Ellsworth Bunker in Kathmandu.[6] Later that year, he was named ambassador to South Vietnam and for nearly the first six years of their marriage they only saw each other monthly, via a special government flight offered by President Johnson as enticement for Bunker to accept the post.[7]

She died of cancer in Dummerston, Vermont at the age of 73.[3]


  1. "Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1976: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth Congress, First Session". 1976.
  2. Who's Who of American Women. Marquis Who's Who. 1973. pp. 540. ISBN 978-0-8379-0408-5.
  3. Cook, Joan (July 26, 1991). "Carol Laise, 73, Ex-Ambassador and High State Dept. Aide, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  4. NOTE: About half the references say the Laise obtained her MA from George Washington University and half say from American University. Who is right?
  5. "Caroline Clendening (Carol (Laise) Bunker) Laise (1917-1991)". Office of the Historian. United States Department of State. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  6. "U.S. Ambassadors Wed in Nepal; Carol C. Laise, Envoy in Katmandu, and Bunker Married: Two US Envoys Are Wed in Nepal". The New York Times. January 4, 1967. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  7. Gillette, Michael L. (December 9, 1980). "Transcript, Ellsworth Bunker Oral History Interview I, 12/9/80". LBJ Library. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
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