Arthur B. Focke, 68, who retired in 1972 as general counsel of the federal Office of Management and Budget, died of cancer Thursday at his home in Chevy Chase.

He had joined the old Bureau of the Budget in 1946 as an attorney, was designated legal adviser to the bureau in 1951, and became general counsel in 1958. He held that position after the bureau became the Office of Management and Budget in 1970.

After his retirement, Mr. Focke was deputy director and counsel for the state criminal justice action program of the National Governors Conference.

He also was senior information analyst for Information Inc. of Rockville, and a consulting attorney to Mead Data Central of New York City.

He was born in Dayton, Ohio, and attended the University of Dayton. From 1927 to 1932, he was a reporter for the Dayton Daily News and wrote a golf column, "The Easiest Shot."

Mr. Focke started work with the General Accounting Office here in 1935.He earned a degree from Georgetown University Law Center a year later and took graduate work at Catholic University Law School.

During World War II, he was a commander with the U.S. Navy Supply Corps.

Mr. Focke was a member of the D.C. Bar and was admitted to practive before the Supreme Court. He belonged to the American and Federal Bar associations, the National Lawyers Club, the Natonal Press Club and the Edgemoor Club in Bethesda.

He was a longtime member of the Catholic Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

He is survived by his wife, the former Marianne Kernan, of Chevy Chase; a son, Michael, of Oakton, Va.; a daughter, Marian, of Washington, and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center at Georgetown University Hospital.