David E. Christian, 66, a former presidential economic adviser and retired official of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international intergovernmental organization based in Paris, died Tuesday at his home in Washington. He had cancer.

Mr. Christian served as an economist with the War Manpower Commission during World War II. After the war, he served for four years on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and then with the old National Security Resources Board, which advised the president on matters of military, industrial and civilian mobilization. In the early 1950s, he served in Europe as an official of the European Recovery Program (Marshall Plan).

He transferred to the Labor Department in 1955 and was deputy assistant secretary for manpower and assistant deputy manpower administrator.

In 1968, he joined OECD in Paris and headed the organization's social affairs division until retiring in 1973 for reasons of health.

Mr. Christian also had been an economic planning consultant to the governments of Malaysia and Brazil.

Born in Woodland, Mich., he earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Michigan State University.He was employed in Michigan's employment service before moving to Washington in 1942.

Mr. Christian's wife of 34 years, the former Yolanda Shell, died in 1974.

Survivors include a brother, Richard, of Ionia, Mich.