Outerbridge Horsey, 72, the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1962 to 1966 and a career Foreign Service officer, died of cancer Aug. 18 at Georgetown University Hospital.

Mr. Horsey joined the Foreign Service in 1938. His first foreign post was Naples, Italy. During World War II, he served in Budapest and then in Madrid. In 1944, he returned to Washington as assistant chief of the division of Western European affairs in the State Department.

In 1947, he was sent to Rome and in 1950 was promoted to counsellor of the embassy there. In 1952, he was assigned to the State Department. In 1955, he went to Tokyo as counsellor of embassy and deputy chief of mission. In 1959, he was assigned to Rome, where he held the same positions.

President Kennedy appointed Mr. Horsey ambassador to Czechoslovakia. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1970 with the personal rank of career minister.

Mr. Horsey was born in New York City. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge University, England, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He worked for the National Emergency Council and as an engineer before joining the Foreign Service.

He was a member of the Metropolitan and Chevy Chase clubs here and the Circolo della Caccia in Rome. He also was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mary Hamilton Lee, of Washington; four children, Lee H. Maholchic of Brussels, Belgium, Sarah R. Horsey of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Anita H. Gannon and Outerbridge Horsey Jr., both of Washington; four sisters, Helen L. Horsey of Falls Church, Elizabeth L. Collins of Washington, Eleanor C. Trevor of Chichester, England, and Sister Anita C. Horsey, R.S.C.J, of Bombay, India; one brother, Rev. Kevin Horsey, O.S.B., of Ealing Abbey, England, and three grandchildren.