William Criswell Gausmann, 59, a U.S. Information Agency official, died Saturday at SIbley Memorial Hospital after a long illness.

Since 1972, he had been assigned to the State Department's office of research and analysis for Western Europe. He was a senior specialist on British affairs.

Born in Washington, Mr. Gausmann received a bachelor's degree in history from George WashingtonUniversity in 1942. He then served in the Army Transportation Corps, seeing duty in England and France in World War II.

During the 1930s, he had become active in the Socialist Party in his country, had traveled with Norman Thomas, the party head, and was named to the party's national executive committee.

While serving overseas during the war, Mr. Gausmann was the representative of the American Socialist Party to the Socialist international, whose headquarters are in London.

After the war, he returned to Washington where he was director of a labor news service. In the early 1950s, he became a labor adviser to the staff of the Marshall Plan in Paris. He then joined USIA and became labor information officer at the U.S. embassy in London.

Mr. Gausmann returned to Washington as labor adviser to USIA in 1959. In 1969, he was assigned to Saigon, where he served for four years.

He was active in the Lutheran Church in America and was a member of its bicentennial commission during 1974-76. He was closely associated with the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa.

Mr. Gausmann also helped develop a special ministry program for government workers with discussions on current events at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation here.

He is survived by his wife, Doreen, and a son, Paul William, of the home in Washington, and a daughter, Deborah Jane, of Philadelphia.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Church of the Reformation Memoria Fund.