Robert O. Blake

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Robert Orris Blake (April 7, 1921 – December 28, 2015) was an American diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Mali from 1970 to 1973.


Blake was born in Los Angeles, California to Frank Orris and Marjorie Edwards. Blake is a retired United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. During his 30-year career in United States Foreign service, Blake served as Ambassador to Mali from December 10, 1970 until May 20, 1973 as a member of the Nixon administration, serving under U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. From August 1968 until December 1970, Blake was Deputy Chief of Mission, Paris. Prior to Paris Blake served in Managua, Nicaragua, Moscow, Russia, Tokyo, Japan, Tunis, Tunisia, and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Kinshasa.[1] He was also the Officer in Charge of U.S.S.R. Affairs, and Advisor on Political and Security Affairs, United States Mission to the United Nations, and United States Representative to the Joint Commission on the Environment.

Blake received a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in 1943 and a Master of Arts in 1947 from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. From 1943 to 1946, Blake was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II.[2] Blake was the Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute, where he served as the Chairman of the Committee on Agricultural Sustainability. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, National Advisory Board of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

He married Sylvia Whitehouse on July 28, 1956.[3][4] The couple had one daughter and two sons, including Robert O. Blake, Jr. who is also a career diplomat. Blake died on December 28, 2015, of prostate cancer.[5]


  1. ^ "United States Ambassador to the Republic of Mali Announcement of Intention To Nominate Robert O. Blake of California Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine", November 24, 1970
  2. ^ "Blake, Robert Orris," Who's Who in Government, Marquis Who's Who, LLC, Biographical Research Bureau, 1977
  3. ^ "Miss Whitehouse Becomes Engaged", New York Times, Jun 12, 1956
  4. ^ "Miss Sylvia Whitehouse Is Wed To Robert O. Blake in Newport", New York Times, Jul 29, 1956
  5. ^ Robert O. Blake, career diplomat and former US ambassador to Mali dies at 94
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Gilbert Edward Clark
United States Ambassador to Mali
Succeeded by
Ralph Jack Mcguire