Harold Shapiro, 72, a former West Coast labor leader who became a Foreign Service labor adviser, died of congestive heart failure Sunday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

He entered the Foreign Service here in 1955, and for five years was senior labor adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. Later he was assigned to the embassy in Brazil, where he was first secretary and labor reporting officer.

Mr. Shapiro returned to Washington in 1966 for duty with the Agency for International Development, and was with its Bureau of Vietnam Affairs until retiring in 1973.

Born in Chicago, he grew up in San Pedro, Calif. He attended Loyola University in California and law school in Chicago.

In 1939, he became West Coast regional director of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America, CIO, a position he held for 16 years.

In 1948, he was named director of political action for the CIO in Los Angeles county. He was a key member of the group that ousted maritime union boss Harry Bridges from the CIO.

Mr. Shipiro was a charter member of Americans for Democratic Action. He belonged to the National Democratic Club, the American Foreign Service Association and DACOR.

He is survived by his wife, Geraldine, and a son, Michael, of the home in Washington.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to theD.C. chapter of the Mental health Association.