H. Livingston Hartley, 80, a director of the Atlantic Council of the United States, a former Foreign Service officer and a frequent writer and commentator on international affairs, died Friday at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had suffered a stroke.

Mr. Hartley was born in Brookline, Mass., and was educated in this country and at Eton College, England.He graduated from Harvad College in 1923. He began his foreign Service career in 1928 and served in London, Brazil and Argentina. He also worked in the West European Division of the State Department. He resigned in 1933.

He continued to reside here, and in subsequent years, wrote a number of books on foreign affairs and published articles in The Washington Post, The Chrisitian Science Monitor and other publications.

Early in World War II, he was named Washington director of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies. He spent the rest of the war in the Navy, where he specialized in psychological warfare and was assigned to the 5th Army in Italy. He rose to the rank of lieutenant commander.

After the war, Mr. Hartley returned to Washington. He became the Washington director of the American Association for the United Nations and editorial director of the National Committee on Atomic Information. He also was appointed to the U.S. Citizens Commission on NATO. In 1961, when the Atlantic Council was formed to promote better understanding between Europe and Australia and New Zealand, he was named a director. He held that post until his death.

Mr. Hartley was a member of the Metropolitan club and the Harvard Club of Washington.

Survivors include his wife, Louise Randolph Hartley of Washington; two sons, Charles R., a Foreign Service officer stationed in London, and Robert F., of middletown, Calif; a duaghter, Bettina Tierney of Mclean; a sister, Archesa Virginia Proto of Rome, Italy, and seven grandchildren.

The family suggest that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Atlantic Council of the United States.