Dr. Hans F. Smetana, 83, the first director of research and chief of the department of pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology here, died Friday at his summer home in Weems, Va., after a long illness.

An internationally known authority on the pathology of viral hepatitis, he had joined the AFIP in 1946 as it was being developed from the old Army Medical Museum, and played a key role in that scientific development.

Dr. Smetana also served as chief of hepatic and pediatri pathology at AFIP until retiring in 1963. He then became pathologist-in-chief and director of laboratories at the Delta Primate Center at Tulane University where he also lectured at the medical scholl.

He continued experimental studies of hepatitis and yellow fever there until a second retirement in 1974.

Born in Roemerstadt, Austria-Hungary, Dr. Smetana was related to Bedrich Smetana, composer of the Modan" and "Bartered Bride," and was a gifted pianist and composer as well as a linguist.

While attending the University of Vienna engineering school, he went to a medical lecture, and shifted to medical school. His education was interrupted by World War I when he was an artillery corps officer with the Austro-Hungarian Army.

After receiving a medical degree from the University of Vienna, he trained there as a pathologist. In 1923, he became an instructor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Tow years later, he joined the staff of the Peking Medical College under Rockeffeller Foundation sponsorship.

Later, he initiated an experimental pathology laboratory in Vienna, was professor of pathology at the School of Tropical Medicine in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and in 1930 was named assistant professor of pathology at Columbia University.

At the outbreak of World War II, the federal government sought his services because of his experience with tropical diseases. He served as a colonel in the U.S. Army and as chief of laboratories at Torney General Hospial in Palm Springs, Calif., and Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta.

In 1957-58, Dr. Smetana took leave from AFIP to be a professor at Patel Chest Institute in Delhi and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

He was the author of more than 100 papers on hepatitis and aspects of pathology.

On his 80th birthday, Dr. Smetana was awarded special honors by Tulane Medical Dchool, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the Austrian government. The American Hepatitis Foundation established a fellowship in his name.

He had been a visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Scholl, George Washington University Medical School and with Project Hope in Catgegena, Columbia.

He is survived by his wife, Florence, of the homes in Covington, La., and Weems, a son and a daughter.