Arthur M. Kuhl, 54, the assistant secretary of the Senate who died of an apparent heart attack Monday while walking to work in the snow, began his career on Capitol Hill in 1949 as a policeman.

He joined the Capitol Police after moving to Washington in 1948 after serving in the Army in the Pacific during World War II. He earned bachelor's and law degrees at George Washington University and then engaged in a private law practice for a time.

He returned to the Hill as chief clerk of a subcommittee of the old Senate committee on labor and public welfare. In 1958, he joined the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in 1965 was named the committee's chief clerk. He held that post until 1977, when he was named assistant secretary of the Senate.

Mr. Kuhl was born in St. Martin, Minn., and grew up in Baker, Mont.

He was found lying in the snow near Constitution Avenue and First Street NE shortly after 9 a.m. Monday by two Capitol policemen on their way to work. He was pronounced dead at Capital Hill Hospital about 10 a.m.

His survivors include two sisters, Mrs. Vern Hayworth and Frances Kuhl, both of Spokane, Wash., and three brothers, Richard, also of Spokane, and Pius and James, both of Helena, Mont.