Edwin H. Powers, 69, principal press spokesman at American Red Cross headquarters here for 30 years died of cancer Sunday at Arlington Hospital.

At the time of his retirement in 1975, he was responsible for the news, photo and magazine operations of the Red Cross.

Mr. Powers' association with the Red Cross spanned 40 years. In addition to his public information work, he was involved with fund-raising and disaster operations, participating in all major Red Cross relief efforts.

He was born in Depue, Ill. He was educated in public school there and at American University in Washington.

Mr. Powers worked as a reporter for The Washington Post and the old Washington Times-Herald before joining the Red Cross at its eastern area headquarters in Alexandria in 1935.

In 1943, he became assistant manager for public information and fund-raising in the Red Cross' southeastern area in Atlanta. He returned here two years later as area coordinator of public information at national headquarters.

Survivors include his wife, Evelyn, and a son, William, of Alexandria; his mother, Florence Powers of Ottawa, Ill., and three sisters, Dorothy Barr of Peru, Ill. Ellen Woodrow of Eldridge, Iowa, and Betty Calhoun, of Northridge, Calif.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.