The nation's A list gets down to some serious year-end socializing when President and Mrs. Reagan arrive in Palm Springs tomorrow as houseguests of the Ambassadors Annenberg -- former ambassador to Great Britain Walter and former chief of protocol Lee. The Reagans' social calendar while at Sunnylands looks like this:
Tomorrow night--a quiet little dinner at home when the Annenbergs get the Reagans all to themselves.
Thursday night -- a swish black-tie dinner at the El Dorado Country Club as honored guests of Bel Air steel magnate Earle Jorgensen and his wife Marion, and Reagan's envoy to the Vatican William Wilson and his wife Betty.
Friday night -- the traditional black-tie New Year's Eve party at Sunnylands, with music for dancing by the Tony Rose Orchestra. The VIP-studded guest list of several dozen names ("just a friends' party," says Lee Annenberg) will include Secretary of State George Shultz and his wife Helena; Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and his wife Jane; Attorney General William French Smith and his wife Jean; U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Charles Price and his wife Carol; National Security Adviser William Clark and his wife Joan; Deputy Chief of Staff Michael K. Deaver and his wife Carolyn; USIA Director Charles Z. Wick and his wife Mary Jane; White House personnel director (and future ambassador to Austria) Helene von Damm; comedian Bob Hope and his wife Dolores. Skipping this year's party because of a prior commitment will be Frank and Barbara Sinatra.
Saturday night -- another black-tie dinner, this time at the Vintage Country Club as guests of "kitchen cabinet" cronies Justin Dart and Holmes Tuttle and entertainment mogul Jack Wrather and their wives.
Meanwhile, in lieu of Christmas gifts to each other this year, Richard and Pat Nixon sent two $1,000 checks to the needy. One went to a fund in New York City, the other to a Detroit soup kitchen run by the Capuchin Brothers where the waiting line is sometimes as long as half a mile.
Nixon decided to play Santa Claus in Detroit, where the unemployment rate is 18 percent, after learning that's what longtime pal and supporter Max Fisher planned to do. Republicans remember that it was Fisher, the respected Detroit financier, who managed to round up the corporate board-room crowd as Reagan backers in 1980.
An aide denied reports that the Nixons were heading west for New Year's Eve as house guests, with the Reagans, of the Annenbergs.
"The president and Ambassador Annenberg talk all the time but the Nixons already have a date," said the aide. "Julie, David, Alex and Jennie Eisenhower are coming for the weekend."
The day after she learned that the growth removed from above her lip had been malignant, First Lady Nancy Reagan seemed sufficiently reassured by the news that all of it had been excised to turn her thoughts elsewhere. She had the White House switchboard track down First Hairdresser Robin Weir to confirm her next appointment. She found him having a business drink in the Ritz-Carlton bar. "When is it?" she asked as the president could be heard in the background. "Four o'clock Christmas eve," Weir reminded her. After the appointment, the Reagans had their official picture taken by the family Christmas tree.
Its members reckon they number no more than 100, more exclusive even than that other exclusive "club," the Senate. Now, a decade after their last get-together, American news correspondents who once were accredited by Moscow are planning a reunion dinner Jan. 14 at New York City's Seventh Regiment Armory. Also invited are the seven living former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and so far, two of them -- Walter Stoessel and Jacob Beam -- have sent acceptances.
"Moscow correspondents have an awesome burden and responsibility because through this handful of reporters, millions of Americans and others learn about developments in the Soviet Union that affect their own lives," says ex-UPI and Newsweek correspondent Whitman Bassow, whose idea it was to stage the reunion.
Now president of the World Environment Center in New York, Bassow was expelled in 1962 by the Russians for nothing more specific than "violating rules governing the conduct of foreign correspondents in the Soviet Union." Writing about it in The New York Times some years later, Bassow said only after he left did he learn from Washington free-lancer Sam Jaffe, then ABC's Moscow correspondent who also was expelled, that the Russians were convinced he worked for the CIA.
That really hurt, Bassow wrote, since not once did the CIA ever ask him to serve his country -- and he had the "real stuff, too," like Nikita S. Khrushchev's shoe size (6 1/2 D). That was one scoop he got through enterprising reporting: comparing his size 7D shoes with Khrushchev's at an Indian Embassy reception one night.
"There used to be a lot of handholding among correspondents there and somebody once asked whether we ever competed," Bassow said the other day. "We said we didn't compete against each other, only against the Russians."
Unlike some other things, the number of American correspondents has not exactly proliferated since those Cold War days in 1955 when Bassow could count on two hands the number of American journalists accredited by Moscow. Today, says the State Department, that number stands at around 30.
What do White House press secretary Jim Brady and the City of Berlin have in common? Both are big on bears. That's how a three-foot-tall boxwood bear, fashioned by floral designer Jeune Jaffe for a German radio and television correspondents' Christmas party, ended up at the Brady residence in time for Christmas.
Germaine Swanson saw Jaffe's handiwork later when she put it on display at her Georgetown restaurant, Germaine's. She and her husband Dick Swanson decided to tuck a magnum of champagne between the bear's paws and send it out to Brady, compliments of the restaurant, which is among Brady's favorites.
The National Forum for Women is still $45,000 short of the $175,000 it needs to become the owner of the $3 million, 88-acre Woodstock Conference Center in rural Illinois, which it hopes to turn into a national think tank and conference center for women.
Trying to put the drive over the top before the year-end deadline are NFW founder Rosalynn Carter, NFW board member Judy Carter and her mother Edna Langford. They're hosting a fund-raiser in Atlanta Thursday at the Women's Commerce Club. Two other fund-raisers are scheduled this week in the Chicago area.
According to NFW board member Susan Bernstein, the group must have $150,000 in cash on Jan. 4 and $25,000 in written pledges in order to meet the terms laid down by Woodstock's owner Sylvia Scheinfeld.
"We're determined that we're going to make it," says Bernstein, adding that so far contributions have come from 21 states, including Virginia and Maryland, plus the District. NFW's local rep is Elayne (Mrs. Arnold) Clift of Bethesda.
Ladies' Home Journal is the high bidder for magazine rights to Laurence Leamer's forthcoming biography, "Make-Believe: The Story of Nancy and Ronald Reagan." It will be excerpted in the April issue.