Edwin Francis Jones, 61, a specialist on the economy of China who retired in 1974 as deputy chief of the China branch in the Department of State's Office of Intelligence Research, died of cancer Tuesday at Alexandria Hospital.

During the 1960s and 1970s, he contributed articles on the People's Republic of China economy to studies prepared for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. A chapter he wrote, "The Cultural Revolution: In Search of a Maoist Model," was included in the Joint Committee's 1972 publication, "People's Republic of China: An Economic Assessment."

Before joining the State Department in 1946, Mr. Jones had been an economist for the old Office of Price Administration and the Department of Agriculture.

He was born in Hinghwa, Fujian (Fukien), China, where his parents were missionaries. He attended the American School in Shanghai and Nanjing (Nanking) University before attending the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1940.

During World War II, he served with the Office of Strategic Services in China.

Mr. Jones lived in Falls Church. For several years, he sang with the barbershop ensemble, the Fairfax Jubilaires. He also was a member of the Hong King-Taipei Marching and Chowder Society, a group of Foreign Service officers with Far East experience.

Survivirs include his wife, Jenne Wolverson Jones, of the home; six children, Judith L., of Washington, Timothy S., of San Francisco, Barbara S. Holliday, of Falls Church, Tobin K., of Klamath Falls, Ore., Wendy A., of Boulder, Colo., and Kristi A., of Wellesley Mass.; a sister Dorothy E., of Hong Kong; two brothers, Philip P., of Bethesda, and Donald L., of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren. CAPTION:

%Picture, EDWIN F. JONES