Mahmoud Fawzi, a former Egyptian vice-president, foreign minister and premier who was considered that country's chief foreign policy architect, died Friday, the official Middle East News Agency reported. He was 81.

Egyptian newspapers reported that Dr. Fawzi, who was hsopitalized recently for brain and heart ailments, was admitted to the intensive care unit of Demerdash hospital Wednesday for treatment of a brain clot. They said president Anwar Sadat, whom Dr. Fawzi once served as vice president and prime minister, was issued periodic updates on the veteran diplomat's condition.

Fluent in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Greek and Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, Dr. Fawzi was educated in Egypt, Italy, Britain and the United States.

Described by the Egyptian press as a quiet, calm man of diplomacy, he had a reputation among diplomatic colleagues for being non-political, always loyal to the policy of whichever Egyptian leader he served. "He didn't think it was a diplomat's job to make policy, just advise and carry it out," said one Western diplomatic source who knew him.

Dr. Fawzi, who had served both the Egyptian monarchy and the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser's regime, had been retired since 1974, when he stepped down as one of Egypt's two vice presidents serving Sadat. He received his country's highest decoration for outstanding service at that time. r

He was Sadat's prime minister from 1970-72, taking that job shortly after the death of Nasser, Egypt's first president. He was first civilian to become prime minister since the 1952 officers' revolt that overthrew the late King Farouk.

Nasser, a tough military officer who helped topple Farouk, seized power in 1954 and was elected president in 1956. At Nasser's request, Dr. Fawzi tutored him in elementary diplomacy and accompanied him to Moscow in 1958 for talks on arming Egypt.

Dr. Fawzi began his career in 1923 as a secretary in the Egyptian embassy in Rome. He then served as consul in New Orleans.Later assignments took him to Japan, France and Ethiopia.

At the end of World War II, he went to the United Nations, where he eventually became Egypt's permanent delegate. He won respect from several Western colleagues for his defense of the Arab cause in the 1948 war with Israel.

After Nasser's revolution, he served briefly as ambassador to Britain. He was foreign minister from 1952 until 1964.

The Egyptian cabinet issued a statement of regret at Dr. Fawzi's death, saying he had served his country "in defense of the Arab viewpoint."

Dr. Fawzi was married. No information was available about his survivors.