Ernest A. Keller, 83, who retired in 1967 as director of the Far East and Latin American branches of the old United States Information Agency, died Sunday at his home in Washington. He had cancer.

Mr. Keller became a foreign officer with the State Department in 1952 and was sent to Manila in the Philippines for three years as director of the Far East Regional Publications Center. He then came to Washington to head the Far East and Latin American branches in the International Press Division of the USIA, now the International Communication Agency.

He was born in Chicago and was a graduate of the University of Chicago. He was a reporter on Chicago newspapers in the 1920s and then became managing and Sunday editor of The Chicago Herald American.

In 1944, Mr. Keller went to New York to be managing editor of The American Weekly, the Hearst syndicated Sunday magazine. He came to Washington after the death of William Randolph Hearst in 1951.

After his retirement, Mr. Keller devoted his time to gardening and became active in the Potomac Chrysanthemum Society, serving as editor of its newsletter. He was a member of the National Press Club.

He is survived by his wife, Ursula, of Washington; a daughter, June Reich of Dayton, Ohio; two sons by a former marriage, Dr. Ernest A. and John, both of Los Angeles, and six grandchildren. His first marriage to Florence M. Keller ended in divorce.