Ely Eliot Palmer, 89, the first United States ambassador to Afghanistan, died Aug. 12 after a lengthy illness.

Mr. Palmer, who began his service during the Taft administration, worked under seven presidents during 41 years with the State Department. He retired in 1952 and moved to Highland, Calif.

Born in Providence, R.I., Mr. Palmer earned a masters of diplomacy degree from George Washington University in 1909 and was appointed to the consul assistance corps and sent to Mexico City as an attache the following year.

Mr. Palmer was later sent to Paris, Washington and Madrid as an attache and on to Bucharest, Rumania, as consul general.

From Bucharest, Mr. Palmer was sent to Jerusalem and Ottawa, Canada.The outbreak of World War II resulted in a move from Lebanon to Sydney, Australia.

In 1945, during the Truman administration, Mr. Palmer was elavated to ambassador to Afghanistan, the first U.S. diplomat to hold that position.

Mr. Palmer was a member of the Epilson Chapter of Zeta Phi Fraternity at Brown University and St. Anne's Catholic Church.

He is survived by two granddaughters, Gayle and Karen Palmer; a grandson, Hunt Palmer and a great-grandson, Hunt Palmer III, all of California.