Walter E. Menke, 76, a retired official of the Agency for International Development who had served as a government attorney in Germany after World War II, died of a heart ailment July 3 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Mr. Menke joined AID in 1955 and worked in Saigon for eight years as a legal adviser to AID missions in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

He transferred to Washington in 1963 and worked in AID's office of general counsel until retiring in 1972.

He was presented with the agency's Superior Honor Award in 1972 for his "distinguished legal scholarship and excellence of legal analysis" during his career with AID.

Mr. Menke was born in Berlin. He studied law and the classics at the universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, and Goettingen, then practiced law and was a judge in Berlin. He fled the Nazis and came to this country in 1936.

Settling in New York City, he studied corporation finance and banking at New York University, then worked as an investment counselor.

He served with U.S. Army Intelligence in Europe during World War II. In October 1945, he joined the staff of the American prosecution team at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, where he worked as a consultant on German law and edited German language translations of American documents.

Mr. Menke remained with American occupation forces in Germany until 1953, as a consultant on the reform of German courts and as a legal adviser on currency reform.

He was a financial and legal consultant in New York City for two years before joining AID in 1955.

After his retirement, he resumed his study of classical Latin and Greek authors.

He is survived by his wife, Giselle, of the home in Bethesda, and a daughter, Anne Harman-Menke, of New Haven, Conn. CAPTION: Picture, WALTER E. MENKE