William Lawson Reno, 71, a former professor of political science and government administration at American University and for many years manager of his family's farming interests, died of aplastic anemia Sunday at George Washington University Hospital.

Mr. Reno came to Washington during World War II from the University of California at Berkeley, where he had taught jurisprudence and international law. He joined the War Production Board and served as director of the bureau of international supply in its civilian production administration.

After the war, he became a professor at American University. He resigned in 1953 to take charge of his family's farming business. In the early 1960s, he was a consultant to the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Reno was born in Owensboro, Ky. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University and also earned a master's degree there. He earned his doctorate in political science at the University of California and then joined its faculty.

He was a member of the American Political Science Association and the American Society of International Law. He published numerous articles on international law in professional journals.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Gardner Reno, of the home in Falls Church, and a daughter, Alice Heartley Reno Malone, of Reston.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Red Cross Blood Program.