Francisco C. Banda, 81, a former Ecuadorean diplomat who served as an official of the old U.S. Foreign Economic Administration and of the Postal Service, died of a cerebral vascular accident Tuesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Born in Quito, Ecuador, Dr. Banda came to the United States in about 1918 to attend the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, now the Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1922, he transferred to Georgetown University, where he earned bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees in economics.

Dr. Banda then joined the Embassy of Ecuador here. He was his country's consul general in New Orleans from 1928 to 1942.

From about 1940 until 1946, he also served as an honorary consul from Paraguay.

During his diplomatic career, Dr. Banda was credited with instituting a number of commercial treaties with European and South American countries. He received the French Legion of Honor and awards from several other European countries, as well as from Ecuador and Paraguay, for his work.

From 1943, when the Foreign Economic Administration was established, until 1945, when it was terminated, Dr. Banda served as director of the agency's division of grain, coca, tea, coffee, sugar and spices. He was a U.S. citizen and spent the rest of his career with the U.S. government.

He was a consultant and technical translator for the old U.S. Bureau of Public Roads and for the Library of Congress from 1950 to 1954. During that time he was involved with the building of the Pan-American Highway and compiled a directory of engineering terms in Spanish and English.

Dr. Banda then joined the old Post Office Department, now the U.S. Postal Service, as assistant director of the international money order division. He retired in 1972.

Survivors include his wife, Edna W., of Washington where Dr. Banda lived; three sons, F. Perry, of Rockville, Philip W., of San Mateo, Calif., and Lionel A., of South Windsor, Conn., and seven grandchildren.