Lowell Jenkins Chawner, 83, a former trade and economic development official with the Commerce and State departments, died Nov. 23 at South Coast Community Hospital in South Laguan Beach, Calif. He had a heart ailment.

Dr. Chawner began his government career in 1935 with the Commerce Department, where he was head of the bureau of foreign and domestic commerce. He later served as a special assistant to the secretary.

During World War II, he entered the Army and became director of economic policy on the staff of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander in Europe. Later, he was chief of the plans branch for U.S. military government in Europe. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and held the rank of colonel when he left the service.

After the war, Dr. Chawner became a senior economic analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency. He was on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers in the first Eisenhower administration and then, in 1955, he joined the State Department.

He was assigned to Korea, where he was economic adviser and later acting director of the U.S. operations mission there. He was economic adviser to the government of Korea at the time of his return to the United States about 1960.

His last government post was with the International Cooperation Administration, a precedessor to the Agency for International Development, from which he retired in 1961.

Dr. Chawner was born in El Modena, Calif., and grew up in Pasadena. He served in the Army in Europe during World War I.

He earned a bachelor's degree at Occidental College in California and then was on the faculty there. He took a degree in civil engineering at Cornell University and also taught there. He taught briefly at Columbia University before moving to Washington and beginning his government career.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Dr. Chawner earned master's and doctoral degrees in economics at Harvard University.

After leaving the government, he taught at the business school of the University of Washington in Seattle and then at Fresno State College in California. He retired to the Laguna Beach area in 1971.

He was a member of the American Economic Association, the Royal Economic Society and the Cosmos Club.

Survivors include his wife, Lucia Soule Chawner of Laguna Hills, Calif.; four daughters, Priscilla Mary Ketsher of Reedley, Calif., Lucia Martha Chawner of Dallas, Texas, Grace C. Bowles of Pella, Iowa, and Lydia C. Hadley of Columbus, Ohio; a brother, William Donald Chawner of Del Mar, Calif., and 10 grandchildren.