THERE WAS "no reprimand" when former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford spent 40 minutes with President Carter at the White House last week, says one source who was there.

But special envoy Clifford had to spend the entire time defending his controversial statement in New Delhi that any Soviet push from Afghanistan toward the Persian Gulf "means war." Being on the defensive was an unaccustomed position for a man who has counseled presidents all the way back to Harry Truman.

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance raised the question of Clifford's having been "overly dramatic in words, if not in substance" and the debate was on.

"I prefer the language the president used," Vance said, repeating a statement he had made earlier to reporters.

"I prefer the language I used," Clifford retorted and launched into a lengthy defense of his language explaining, "it is necessary that signals to the Soviets give complete clarity."

When he finished, Carter agreed with Clifford and called in the White House press to give what seemed to be a public endorsement.

Minerals heiress Sophia Englehard's mother, Jane, has generally made it a point to have any number of powerful Democratic politicians who considered her a close personal friend as well as political patroness with considerable campaign money to dispense.

Sophie, who works here at the Englehard Minerals office and has said she hopes someday to run the family's vast holding, seems to be following her mother's lead.

Jane Englehard had befriended men like Lyndon B. Johnson and Mike Mansfield long before they became Senate Majority leader.

Sophie will throw a fund-raiser here next week for young Billy Moorhead who is running for the seat his father is vacating in Pennsylvania.

If she listed her business in the telephone directory under her name -- Kalichnikov -- she would be getting calls constantly from international arms merchants, like the Egyptian who was in town shopping last week.

So Nadine Kalichnikov, whose uncle invented the Russian machine gun, will be known as "The Pasta Factory" when she opens her wholesale and retail carry-out store across from the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown in a few weeks.

Nadine, who supervised the food at Nathan's and Nathan's II when she was married to the very social owner, John Howard Joynt III, is thinking about selling "The Old Farm House," her residence at 3333 Prospect Street, and moving above the store. It won't be a restaurant, except for friends who want to come for lunch on Sundays, when she is closed, and cook their own fettucine.

Clark Bennett is Joan Kennedy's step-brother (her mother married his father).

In a long feature story in the Washington Star in July 1976, he told the interviewer his maternal grandmother had just cut off his $20,000-a-month allowance. To support himself, he was going to rent out his collection of Rolls Royces -- a 1938 Silver Wraith, a 1959 Phantom and a 1964 Silver Cloud.

It was promised that Bennett's white-gloved chauffeur would serve clients grapes and cheese, along with his boss's special concoction of tangerine juice, vodka and Tuaca.

Bennett got into trouble recently for renting -- not a Rolls, but a two-door green jeep -- FROM someone, the Dick Blanken leasing company, a spokesman says.

When the jeep was not returned, a warrant was issued and D.C. police picked him up in August at 13th and I St. NW. The charge for unauthorized use of the vehicle was dismissed and now Bennett is missing from the Washington scene, according to the public defender who represented him.

Despite all that, Donna Schee, Blanken manager says, they miss him around Blanken's. "He was our entertainment," she says. "An interesting fellow. He's beautiful; he'd show up at nine in the morning with his tangerine juice and vodka."