Robert L. (Robbie) Robinson, 65, director of public affairs for the American Psychiatric Association for 31 years before his retirement in January, died of cancer Nov. 29 at the Washington Hospital Center. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Robinson was credited with having introduced an "open press" policy ahead of most professional and scientific societies. He established and edited the association's publication, Psychiatric News, and edited several books on psychiatry and medical education.

He joined the association in 1949 after working as an information specialist for the Commerce Department. In 1973, he was made an honorary fellow of the association and received its Founders' Award in 1979.

Mr. Robinson, who was born in Richfield Springs, N.Y., grew up there and in Albion, N.Y. He graduated from Saint Lawrence University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

During World War II, he served in the Army and was assigned to the Judge Advocates Office. After the war, he served for serveral years in the Army Reserve.

He was a life member of the National Association of Science Writers, a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Public Health Association and an affiliate member of the American Medical Association. He was a member of the Cosmos Club.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, the former Anna Marion Weir, of Washington, and a sister, Bess Rodger of Colorado Springs, Colo.