Francis G. Merrill, 59, an official of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration and a former congressional aide on Capitol Hill, died at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, March 16 following a heart attack.

Mr. Merrill had worked for the ICEM in Geneva since 1970. At the time of his death, he was chief of its departments of management and finance and of personnel. The committee is a nongovernmental organization that works with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

From 1951 until 1970, Mr. Merrill worked on Capitol Hill. He began his career with Congress as an assistant on the House Committee on Appropriations. From 1955 to 1962, he was a staff assistant on its subcommittee for the District of Columbia. From 1960 to 1970, he was a staff assistant on its foreign operations subcommittee, which has responsibility for refugees as well as other matters.

Mr. Merrill was a Sioux Indian and was born on a Sioux reservation at Fort Yates, N.D. He studied for two years at the Commercial Business School at Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kan., and then enlisted in the Navy for World War II service. He was wounded in Europe and was awarded the Purple Heart.

After the war, he attended the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1951. He worked briefly for the post office in Minneapolis and Washington before moving to Capitol Hill.

Survivors include his wife, Bernidene M., whom he married in 1950, of Geneva and Alexandria; three daughters, Deborah Jean, of Alexandria, and Rebecca Lynn and Frances Ann, both of Geneva, and a son, Steven Craig, also of Geneva.