Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.

Was Secretary of the Organization of American State Alejandro Orfila really surprised at all the attention afforded wife Helga's plunging neckline at last week's signing of the Panama Canal treaties?

"Yes," says Orfila, "I was surprised because all you have to do is look at Helga and see she has to nothing to see."

A sentiment, incidentally, concurred in by Helga Orfila. "Listen, darling, if a woman had a bosom she couldn't wear a dress like that.

"Basically, that dress is just a little dress designed by London designer Ossie Clark. And in Europe the picture ran everywhere but none of the European press even mentioned the neckline. However, had I known there would be such a commotion I never would have worn it."

Nonetheless, Helga Orfila was covered up to the throat last night at the champagne party held in the atrium of the Kennedy Center following a benefit premiere of "A Chorus Line."

The gala benefit for Juvenile Diabetes Foundation drew such luminaries as Judge John Sirica, British Ambassador Peter Jay and his wife, Margaret, Sen. Richard Schweiker (R) of Pennsylvania, columnist Art Buchwald and actress Dina Merrill, the honorary chairwoman.

Meanwhile, Schweiker said he thought Jody Powell's attack on Sen. Charles Percy (R-Ill.) would impair the already-fragile relations between the Carter White House and Congress. "Most of the senators were appalled at what Jody did," he said. "It was a personal shot taken out of desperation, and without checking. It just shows how troubled the administration is."