TIBETAN-AMERICANS staged their first march on the Capitol this week in protest against some balderdash at the State Department.

There are perhaps 20 former Tibetans now American citizens, and perhaps 150 Tibetans resident among us but not American citizens.

Now the problem concerns passports. Some of the Americans who used to be Tibetans were horrified to see, when they applied for and received passports, that their place of birth was called "China."

China? The whole reason they are in America is that China extended dominion over Tibet and quashed an uprising of Tibetans in 1959. They feel they were driven from their homeland by China. And now that they're Americans, they are not much amused to see their country of birth listed on their passports as China.

The State Department is mumbling and reviewing.

Of course I am biased because we have two Tibetans dogs. Sabot is a good bit better specimen than Sheba, whose back was broken when kicked by a horse.

It was said these small dogs, which resemble dust mops, were killed when the Chinese took over, or exercised dominion, or whatever you want to call it, in 1959.

"Whey did they kill all the dogs?" one might ask.

"Guess they littered the streets," said a Tibetan.

There you have the true essence of barbarism, though the Chinese are no worse than our homegrown monsters who say, "Kill pups."

But another Tibetan said it was not that at all. The dogs (the little lhasas, the fierce mastiffs, the fiery Tibetan terriers) were all associated with Tibet and no other country - they were a national thing.

As in America a conqueror would spray the eagles.

The dissidents got out of their bus and straggled a ways up the hill with banners and signs in the Monday blaze, and dutifully circled about banging some cymbals and sounding the dung , a nine-foot trumpet.

Tibetan costume is gorgeous, but these folks ran largely to T-shirts and slacks. They were not picturesque and, from the marble parapets, looked as scraggly as any tourist family on a July day.

You might well think the State Department should accede to their request, passportwise, before the idea goes any farther among other Americans.

One woman, hearing of the Tibetans, said she certainly sympathized with them:

"Know exactly how they feel. I was born in Georgia. It galls me to have my passport read United States."