Jerry T. Baulch, 71, a retired reporter in the Washington bureau of the Associated Press and an Army Reserve colonel who served on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur for more than three years during World War II, died of cancer Feb. 7 at his home in Silver Spring.

Mr. Baulch retired from the AP in 1978 with 39 years of service. For the last seven years of his career with the wire service he covered communications news. His beat was the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T, the television networks and Capitol Hill.

His interest in the military and veterans led him to write a column for the AP called "Salute," which explained veterans benefits and the draft. On retirement, he was awarded a certificate by Veterans Administration chief Max Cleland "for outstanding service to America's veterans."

Mr. Baulch was born in Alexandria, La., and graduated from Louisiana State University. He later went to work for the Baton Rouge State Times. In 1938 the newspaper lent him to the Associated Press to cover the Arkansas legislature and the next year he was hired by the wire service to a full-time job.

He married Sadie Renshaw of Memphis in 1941. He returned from his honeymoon on Dec. 7, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. A reserve lieutenant, he was called to active duty and assigned overseas within a month.

Mr. Baulch joined MacArthur's staff when it was formed in Australia in 1942 and remained until after the signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship Missouri. He witnessed the ceremony as assistant public relations officer and chief news censor.

After the war, Mr. Baulch resumed his AP career in San Francisco. He transferred to Washington in the late 1940s.

As an Army Reserve officer, Mr. Baulch commanded a mobilization unit in the Office of Public Affairs of the Army Department. He retired from the Reserves in 1973 with the rank of colonel.

His military decorations included the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal.

In addition to his wife, of Silver Spring, survivors include three daughters, Joan, of Silver Spring, Patricia Anne, of Gaithersburg, and Roberta Adeline, of Crownsville, Md., and a brother, Monte J., of Dallas.