Joseph W. Scott, 67, a retired State Department official and former U.S. minister to Canada, died Tuesday at Georgetown University Hospital. He had a heart ailment.

Mr. Scott began his State Department career in 1946 after World War II service in the navy. He specialized in international security matters and served at the United Nations and in Washington until 1952. In that year he was assigned to Paris, where he worked with NATO and other international organizatios and at the U.S. Embassy. He spent 1956 on assignment in Turkay.

In 1957, Mr. Scott was assigned to the Canadian Defense College in Kingston, Ont. He then returned to Washington and served as a special assistant to the undersecretary of state until 1961. He was deputy director of the department's bueau of intelligence and research until 1964.

He was minister to Canada from 1964 to 1968. On returning here, he became director of the Canadian desk in the State Department. He retired in 1970.

Mr. Scott was active in civic affairs in Alexandria. He was a member at large of the Alexandria Tourist Council and a former chairman of the Alexandria Sister City Commission.

Mr. Scott was born in Houston. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Texas and a master's degree at the University of Virginia. He also studied at the London School of Economics and Columbia University. He had worked for the Foreign Policy Association before joining the Navy in World War II.

Mr. Scott's first wife, the former Ann Collins, died in 1969.

Survivors include his second wife, the former Claretta Krueger, of the home in Alexandria; a daughter, Jonna Hennessy, of Boston; a sister, Jeanette Allday, of Houston, and three grandchildren.