Paul E. Quintus, 71, a retired official with the Foreign Agricultural Service, died Wednesday at his home in Fairfax of a heart ailment.

Dr. Quintus came to Washington in 1938, after receiving a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Minnesota. He joined the Agriculture Department as an economist and held a number of research and administrative positions before transferring to the Department of the Army for three years at the close of World War II.

While with the Army Department in Germany, he became a food and agricultural officer. He was responsible for coordinating the food supply for the Berlin Air Lift from 1948 to 1949, and received a citation from the Department of Army for his work.

In 1949, Dr. Quintus returned to Washington, joined the Foreign Agricultural Service and from 1962 to 1968, was agricultural attache in Paris. At his retirement in 1969, he was a deputy assistant administrator.

Dr. Quintus received a Superior Service Award from the Department of Agricultural for his work in promoting exports of U.S. farm products.

Born in Garner, Iowa, he received a master's degree from Iowa State University.

Survivors include his wife, Vivienne W., of the home; two sons, Paul Joseph, of Bowie, and John Allen, a student in Saudi Arabia; a daughter, Katherine Q. Stanton, of McLean; a sister, Helen Patrick, of Garner, and four grandchildren.