The folks at New York's Social Register Association -- publishers of the so-called "blue book" guide to the socially elite -- are not amused by businesses that attempt to curry favor by using the register's good name.

A gentleman ["We do not give our names. We do not conduct interviews."] who answered the phone at the Park Avenue offices of the Social Register yesterday confirmed that the association has protested -- through its legal counsel -- the use of its name in a mailing by Cunard Lines Ltd.

The operator of cruise ships, best known for its flagship, the Queen Elizabeth II, inquired some time ago about whether the register would cooperate with a cruise for members of the association. The register refused, according to the gentleman.

"People in the book started calling our office and saying 'How dare you?' " because they thought the association had authorized the use of its name in a promotional mailing they were receiving, the gentleman said.

The brochure being mailed to members announced a cruise on Cunard Lines "for members of the Social Register, their families and friends," he said, on which they also would have access to lectures on investments furnished by the J. Henry Schroder Bank & Trust Co.

The association responded with a call to its lawyers and a notice to its subscribers saying that this was an "unauthorized use of the Social Register's good name."

"Cunard is looking into the matter and compiling some facts," said a spokesman for the company, which recently took over the management of the Watergate Hotel.