Herbert B. Warburton, 66, a former Republican congressman from Delaware and government attorney who retired earlier this year from the private practice of law in Delaware, died of respiratory failure July 30 in a hospital in Lewes, Del. He lived in Frankford, Del.

Mr. Warburton was elected to the House of Representatives in 1952. Two years later, he ran for a U.S. Senate seat and was defeated. From 1955 to 1957, he was legislative aide to Secretary of Labor James P. Mitchell. He then spent four years as general counsel of the Post Office Department before retiring in January 1961.

From March 1961 to September 1964, he was minority counsel to the House Government Operations subcommittee, which was investigating the Billie Sol Estes case. He later became executive director of the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association and the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics. He retired from those posts in 1972. Two years later, he returned to his native Delaware to farm and practice law.

Mr. Warburton was a graduate of the University of Delaware and the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa. He served in the Army during World War II, during which time he graduated from its Command and Staff College and held posts in military intelligence, and attained the rank of major.

He practiced law in Wilmington and served as city solicitor before winning election to Congress. In 1951, he was national chairman of the Young Republican National Federation and a member of the Republican National Committee.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Grimm Warburton of Frankford.