Edward Wood Harding, 69, a retired State Department official, died of cancer Monday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Harding joined the State Department in the late 1940s. He entered the Foreign Service in the 1950s and was assigned to West Berlin from 1957 to 1960. He later was stationed in Washington and traveled widely as a member of the Foreign Service inspectorate. He retired in 1967.

He was born in Norwich, N.Y. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in political science and public administration from Syracuse University. He worked for the New York temporary emergency relief administration in New York City and then became executive director of the bureau of municipal research for Kansas City, Mo.

He moved to the Washington area in the late 1930s and began his government career with a federal housing agency.

He joined the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II. He served in the China-Burma-India theater and was attached to the Office of Strategic Services. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and was lieutenant colonel when he left the service. Following the war, he worked briefly for the National Housing Agency before joining the State Department.

Mr. Harding was a memeber of the International Club and of DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired).

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy, of the home in Sumner, Md; a brother, James B. Harding, and a sister, Mrs. Frank Donalty, both of Utica, N.Y.

The family suggests that expression of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.