Norris Swift Haselton, 78, a career foreign service officer and retired Inspector General of the U.S. Foreign Service, died of cancer Friday at his Washington home.

In 1961, President Kennedy temporarily appointed Mr. Haselton as deputy inspector general for foreign assistance, then a newly created State Department position to monitor the government's foreign-aid program.

Mr. Haselton also served as acting inspector general of the Agency for International Development (AID) program before being appointed inspector general of the Foreign Service in 1962. He retired two years later.

He began his Foreign Service career in 1935 and subsequently served in diplomatic and consular positions in Mexico, England, India, Chile, Brazil and New Zealand. He was appointed a career minister in 1960.

Mr. Haselton was born in Cleveland and was graduated from Princeton University in 1925. He was a member of Princeton's Quadrangle Club. He worked as a journalist for the Santa Cruz, Calif., Gazette before joining the Foreign Service.

In the late 1940s and mid-1950s, he attended the National War College here and was a State Department adviser to the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Mr. Haselton enjoyed sailing on the inland waterways and Chesapeake Bay. He was a member of the Metropolitan Club, DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired) and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Garrett Haselton of Washington; a son, Norris S. Jr., of Arlington, and a brother, William D., of Tucson, Ariz.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Foreign Service Association's Scholarship Fund, 2101 E St. NW, Washington, 20037.