Nancy V. Rawls, 59, former U.S. ambassador to Togo and to the Ivory Coast, died of cancer April 10 at a hospital in Norwalk, Conn. She lived in Westport, Conn.

Miss Rawls was a career Foreign Service officer and one of the first women to rise through the ranks of the Foreign Service to ambassadorial status. She was appointed ambassador to Togo in 1974 and served there two years. She served three years as ambassador to the Ivory Coast before retiring in 1984.

She was senior deputy to the director-general of the Foreign Service before she was appointed ambassador to the Ivory Coast, and in that capacity she led U.S. delegations to international conferences dealing with water conservation and protection of the environment.

Miss Rawls was one of several ambassadors assigned to duties at the U.S. mission to the United Nations after the election of Jimmy Carter as president. She was part of a team that assisted in transferring direction of the U.S. mission from William Scranton to Andrew Young.

Born in Clearwater, Fla., Miss Rawls graduated from Shorter College and joined the Foreign Service in 1947. She served in Vienna, Hamburg and Montreal in addition to assignments in Washington. She then held posts in Liberia and Kenya.

Before her appointment as ambassador to Togo, Miss Rawls was assigned to the National War College to study problems and policies of national security, then joined the State Department's African Bureau where she became director of policy planning and staff director for the Inter-Departmental Group working on African problems.

Miss Rawls is survived by her parents, Eugene L. and Vivian Rawls, and a brother, Eugene, all of Atlanta.