Francis X. Lambert, 82, a retired Foreign Service officer and consul general who supervised preparations for the opening of the U.S. diplomatic mission in China, died of a stroke Nov. 27 at Arlington Hospital. A resident of the Washington area off and on since 1962, he lived in Vienna.

Mr. Lambert began his career in 1950 and served initially in Germany. Later assignments were in Austria, Panama, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Monterrey, Mexico, where he was consul general. He also worked on the Austrian desk of the State Department. He retired from a consular affairs assignment in 1978. He became a consultant and headed the team of experts preparing facilities in China.

During his career, he also was a visiting professor of foreign policy at Miami University in Ohio.

Mr. Lambert was a native of Hudson, Mass., and a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. He received a master's degree in history from Boston University and a doctorate in history from Harvard University, where he did additional work in economics.

He served in the Army in North Africa, Italy and France during World War II. He was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action in Tunisia and received two Purple Hearts.

He was a charter member of the Regency Racquet Club and a member of the American Legion and Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Vienna.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Elinor M. Lambert of Vienna; eight children, Mary L. Matton of Davidsonville, Francis X. Lambert II of Centreville, Carolyn E. Brinski of Boulder, Colo., Anne R. Lambert of Dorchester, Mass., Therese B. Lambert of Miami, Joseph A. Lambert of Boerne, Tex., Dr. Eugene J. Lambert of Vienna and Christopher A. Lambert, a Foreign Service officer stationed in Rio de Janeiro; and 12 grandchildren.