Secretary of State George P. Shultz, speaking from the stage of the State Department's Dean Acheson auditorium yesterday, said the winners of this year's American Foreign Service Association's annual awards "exemplified U.S. standards of excellence" and also "have the capacity to maintain their sensitivity."

The winners, nominated by their peers, were judged as those who displayed exceptional qualities and integrity while representing the United States in a foreign country.

The winners included Herman J. Cohen, former ambassador to Senegal; George T. Cosgrove, former U.S. refugee program coordinator; Hugo Carl Gettinger, former junior political officer in El Salvador; and Anne Cook Murphy, wife of the former first American ambassador to Syria.

The Avis Bohlen $2,500 award, presented by Pamela Harriman to Anne Cooke Murphy, is the first of its kind given to a foreign service wife. Murphy, who speaks fluent Arabic, is currently looking for a home base for her family after living overseas for 30 years.

Murphy's award inscription lauded her role in rebuilding relations between the American and Syrian communities in Damascus and said she "exemplifies the highest standards of intercultural sensitivity and thoughtfulness."

Special Ambassador to the Middle East Morris Draper also was presented a special award for his role in negotiating the Israeli withdrawal from Beirut.

In presenting the award, Shultz told Draper that both President Reagan and Lebanese President Amin Gemayel sent their congratulations. "They told me to tell you to 'stay with it, buddy.' "

W. Averell Harriman, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union under the Roosevelt administration, presented the $2,500 Harriman award to Gettinger,who is presently serving with the multinational observation force in El Gorah (the Sinai desert).

Ambassador Cohen, recipient of the Christian A. Herter award, received $1,000 for his 27 years of duty. He is currently deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of intelligence and research.

Cosgrove, currently on a year's leave of absence, said there is a definite place in the foreign service for creative dissent. He said his program dealing with the thousands of Southeast Asians differed from the administration's. "I wanted a criterion for admitting these people instead of the wide-open program that was instituted," Cosgrove said.