Twenty-four hours of political fencing between the United States and West Germany about the Polish crisis took a rest last night over roast lamb and oxtail soup at an intimate West German Embassy dinner.

West German Ambassador Peter Hermes hosted his second consecutive dinner for visiting Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and his wife, Hannelore. Unlike the gathering Monday night, last night's black-tie affair included wives but, oddly, excluded administration officials.

Well, Reagan administration officials, in any case. There were a lot of "formers" on hand.

Former president Gerald Ford flew in for dinner, as did former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and wife, Nancy. Among the household names from political periods gone by were former defense secretary Melvin Laird, former labor secretary George Shultz and former arms negotiator Paul Nitze. It appeared to be simply a meeting of old friends.

"It's so good to see you," said Schmidt, clutching Ford's arm. "How are you?"

"I'm just super," answered Ford. "You look super."

"Almost as good as you," replied Schmidt.

"Betty sends her best regards," reported Ford.

Other American guests were Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Jill Biden; banker David Rockefeller; former diplomat John McCloy; and AFL-CIO chief Lane Kirkland.