Carol Laise

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Caroline Clendening Laise
United States Ambassador to Nepal
In office
5 Dec 1966 – 5 Jun 1973
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Henry E. Stebbins
Succeeded by William I. Cargo
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
In office
October 10, 1973 – March 27, 1975
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Michael Collins
Succeeded by John Reinhardt
Personal details
Born (1917-11-14)November 14, 1917
Winchester, Virginia
Died July 25, 1991(1991-07-25) (aged 73)
Dummerston, Vermont
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Ellsworth Bunker
Alma mater American University
George Washington University

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


Born in Winchester, Virginia to Elizabeth Frances (née Stevens) and James Frederic Laise.[2] She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from American University in 1938, majoring in public administration,[2] and then a Master of Arts in political science from George Washington University in 1940.[3][4]

Laise worked as a coder for the Civil Service Commission in 1940, her first government position. 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 H. 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]

On January 3, 1967 she married 72-year-old Ambassador at Large Ellsworth Bunker in Kathmandu.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

She died at home in Dummerston, Vermont, of cancer in 1991 at the age of 73.[3]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b Who's Who of American Women. Marquis Who's Who. 1973. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-8379-0408-5. 
  3. ^ a b c 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. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ Gillette, Michael L. (December 9, 1980). "Transcript, Ellsworth Bunker Oral History Interview I, 12/9/80". LBJ Library. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  7. ^ "Caroline Clendening (Carol (Laise) Bunker) Laise (1917-1991)". Office of the Historian. United States Department of State. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Michael Collins
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
October 10, 1973 – March 27, 1975
Succeeded by
John Reinhardt