Frederic Dwight Schultheis, 73, a retired senior official of the Central Intelligence Agency and an expert on the Far East, died Tuesday at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital in Arlington after a stroke.

He worked for the CIA from the time it was established in 1947 until retiring in 1966. For the last 13 years of his career, he was executive officer of the agency's division of Middle Eastern affairs.

Mr. Schultheis was a native of Seattle and a graduate of the University of Washington. He earned a master's degree in Chinese studies at Columbia University. In 1935, he went to Peking, China, and for the next three years was a member of the faculty and head of the library at the College of Chinese Studies.

It was during this time that he met and married the former Eugenia M. Barnett, the China-born daughter of American citizens working for the YMCA. Miss Barnett taught school in Shanghai and was a tutor in Peking when she met Mr. Schultheis.

Returning to this country in 1938, Mr. Schultheis went back to the University of Washington and became acting director of its Oriental studies department.

He was commissioned in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served as a liaison officer between American and Chinese forces during the war. After the war, he spent a year as an Army intelligence officer in China before retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

His first assignment with the CIA was in the Far East. He served there until he was transferred to Washington in 1953. He was a resident of Arlington.

In addition to his wife of 43 years, of Arlington, Mr. Schultheis' suvivors include two sons, William, also of Arlington, and Robert, of Telluride, Col.; a sister, Marion S. Loe of Seattle, and one grandchild.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Rock Springs United Church of Christ in Arlington.