Charles E. (Gene) Thomas, 64, a photo editor and photographer for the old Washington Daily News and a retired photo coordinator for the U.S. Information Agency, died of a liver ailment Feb. 18 at his home in Washington.

He had joined the Daily News after World War II and worked there until 1956. For the next five years he was with the Agency for International Development and helped establish four graphics training centers in Vietnam.

Mr. Thomas returned to the News and then was with USIA from 1969 until retiring in 1976.

He was born in Washington, Iowa, and attended Drake University in Des Moines. He then worked on the photo staffs of the Des Moines Register and Tribune and the Daily Oklahoman and Times in Oklahoma City. During World War II, the served as a Navy combat photographer.

Mr. Thomas filmed the Japanese surrender ceremonies aboard the battleship USS Missouri.

He is survived by a daughter, Leri Vestitis, of Manassas, Va.; a sister, Frances McConaughy, of West Fork, Ark., and one grandchild.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Catholic Relief Service in Washington to aid the "boat people" of Vietnam.