Herbert J. Pratt, 78, a retired contract specialist with the Agency for International Development, died July 7 at George Washington University Hospital following a heart attack.

Mr. Pratt, who lived in Bethesday, was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt. In 1925, he began work as a manager at the National Asurety Company in New York. From 1932 to 1943, he was manager of the real estate division of the mortgage department of Siebert and Riggs Company in New York. He became a field director with the American Red Cross in 1943, and served in Europe until 1947.

Mr. Pratt joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1948 and was stationed in Bonn, West Germany, with the combined travel board for the office of political affairs.

In 1954, he came to Washington and worked for two years as a trade fair official with the Department of Commerce. He then joined the State Department's International Cooperation Administration, a predecessor of AID, and served as ann administrative officer in South Vietnam and Korea.

Returning to Washington in 1958, Mr. Pratt became a contract specialist with the ICA. He continued this work with AID, which was formed in 1961, and remained with the agency until his retirement in 1973.

Mr. Pratt was a Shriner and a member of the Almas Temple in Washington.

He is survived by his wife, Magdalena, of Vienna, Austria.