Philip L. Warden, 78, a former Washington correspondent with the Chicago Tribune who also had worked in the Ford White House and for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, died Dec. 30 at Mount Vernon Hospital. He had a neurological disorder.

Mr. Warden began his Tribune career as a financial reporter in Chicago in 1940. Two years later, he transferred to the paper's Washington bureau, where he worked until retiring in 1975.

He then edited the president's daily news summary at the White House and was a public information officer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission until retiring again in 1976.

He spent nearly half of his career with the Tribune's Washington bureau covering Congress, especially the Illinois delegation. He also had covered the Treasury, Labor, Commerce and Agriculture departments, as well as the Internal Revenue Service and the old Budget Bureau. He also covered many national political conventions and accompanied Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon on their travels across the country and abroad.

Mr. Warden, who lived in Alexandria, was a native of Trenton, Mo. He was a graduate of Park College in Parkville, Mo., and also received a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri.

He was a Navy veteran of World War II. Before joining the Tribune, he worked for a fruit and vegetable trade association publication.

He had been a member of Belle Haven Country Club, the National Press Club and the White House Correspondents Association.

Survivors include his wife, Helen Marie, of Alexandria; two sons, Philip S., of San Francisco, and T. Randall, of Annapolis; a daughter, Pamela Coit of Grand Junction, Colo.; two sisters, Jessie Warden of Tallahassee, Fla., and Rebecca Boudreau of Steffenville, Mo.; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.