Paul Vincent Walsh, 61, a former high official of the Central Intelligence Agency who had worked for the System Planning Corp., a research concern in Arlington, since 1980, died of cancer May 10 at his home in McLean.

He joined the CIA in 1952. His posts included those of associate deputy director for intelligence and associate director of the national foreign assessment center. He was the chairman of an interagency reorganization team when he retired in 1980. He was a 1954 recipient of the agency's certificate of merit and received its Distinguished Intelligence Medal in both 1973 and 1979.

From 1980 until his death, he was director of the collection department of the national security research group at System Planning.

Mr. Walsh, who moved here in 1952, was a native of Fitchburg, Mass. He graduated from Tufts University. He earned a master's degree in international affairs from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He served in the Army Air Force in Europe during World War II.

He was the recipient of a Rotary Club International fellowship.

Survivors include his wife, Marie E., of McLean; two daughters, Sheila M. Walsh of Media, Pa., and Maryellen Walsh of McLean; a son, Jeffrey M., of McLean; a brother, F. Austin Walsh of Fitchburg, and a sister, Alice Collette, of Ashburnham, Mass.