Chester L. Guthrie, 67, an employe of the National Archives for 20 years, died of cancer Thursday in Sebastopol, Calif.

Dr. Guthrie joined the archives in 1938 after earning a doctorate in history at the University of California.

During World War II he served in the office of the Navy Surgeon General. After the war he worked for a time as an administrative officer of the Veteran's Administration Hospital in San Francisco. After a stint with the Pan-American Sanitary Bureau, he returned to the archives in 1954.

Dr. Guthrie's last assignment at the archives was as deputy assistant archivist for records management.

In that position he helped conduct systems studies to help improve the flow of paperwork for several federal organizations, including the Passport Office and the Defense Department.

He retired from the government in 1968, and opened a management consulting firm in Rosslyn.

Dr. Guthrie moved to Sebastopol in 1973. While operating an apple orchard there he continued to write articles for various management publications. He also worked on a two volume manual for managers of federal programs for the former Commission of Federal Paperwork.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, of the home; a daughter, Gail Thomas, of Alexandria; his mother, Emma Guthrie, and a brother, Paul, both of Ventura, Calif.