R. J. Blanchard, 65, the deputy comptroller of the currency for branches and mergers from 1964 to 1975, died Thursday at the Sligo Gardens nursing home in Takoma Park. He had cancer.

Mr. Blanchard began his government career as trial attorney in the Justice Department's criminal division in 1951. He then served as a deputy clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1957 to 1962 before joining the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

In 1963, he was appointed associate chief counsel, then a year later, deputy comptroller of the currency. Since retiring from the government, he had been of counsel to the law firm of Metzger Shadyac & Schwartz in Washington.

Mr. Blanchard was a native of Toldeo, Ohio, where he graduated from St. John's University in 1936. He graduated from the University of Michigan's law school three years later.

He served with the Navy aboard destroyers in the Pacific during World War II. He was awarded the Purple Heart as a result of injuries he suffered at Okinawa.

Mr. Blanchard came to this area in 1947 and lived in Silver Spring. He earned a master of laws degree from Catholic University in 1950 and was an associate professor at the university's law school from 1946 to 1951.

He was admitted to the bar by the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Military Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court.

Mr. Blanchard was a member of the John Carroll Society and had belonged to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Bernadette's Parish in Silver Spring for 30 years.

Survivors include his wife, Jane, of Silver Spring; two daughters, Mary Jeanne Diener of Rochester, N.Y., and Anne Martha Blanchard of Silver Spring; three sons, Thomas, of Pittsburgh, and John and Robert, both of Silver Spring; two brothers, Jim, of Toledo, and Gerald, of Columbia, S.C., and two grandchilren.