There was some belief that former President Richard M. Nixon would show up Thursday for the Americans for Indian Opportunity dinner honoring Rep. Morris K. Udall, a man whose political views are rarely, if ever, in the same neighborhood as Nixon's. The former president will not be at the dinner, but he did agree to permit his name to be used as a dinner sponsor. Nixon is proud of his position on Native Americans issues.

The black-tie dinner, which will mark the creation of the Morris K. Udall Fund for Tribal Governance, is to be chaired by Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, and former presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale is expected to speak. Mayor Marion Barry and House Majority Leader Jim Wright are expected to honor Udall, who is to return today from the Soviet Union, where he attended a major conference on pollution and the permafrost.

LaDonna Harris, president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, said the dinner will be an Indian event. Two tepees will be constructed in the Sheraton Washington Hotel ballroom and, because circles are sacred to Indians, Udall will be escorted in a circle around the ballroom and will be seated in the center of the room. A Comanche cryer in buckskins will walk through the room singing in his language of the Arizona congressman's great qualities. Even the meal will differ from the usually dismal hotel dinner fare. It will be quail and buffalo, and an Indian is flying in from Washington to see that the smoked salmon is cut properly. End Notes

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the first U.S. woman astronaut Sally Ride will become the first members of the National Women's Forum "Women's Hall of Fame" Thursday at a dinner and reception at the Sheraton Washington Hotel. The awards dinner will be part of a three-day national conference of the forum. Singer Helen Reddy and actress Polly Bergen will perform and Ms. magazine publisher Gloria Steinem is to be there to present awards . . .

Actress Jessica Lange is to be in town this week for the Washington premiere of her new film "Sweet Dreams," in which she plays the late country-western singer Patsy Cline. At a Kennedy Center dinner in her honor Wednesday, Rep. Tom Downey, chairman of the Congressional Arts Caucus, will present Lange with an award for her outstanding contribution to film through her portrayal of American women . . .

In the wake of the publishing event that a James A. Michener novel is, it's sobering to speculate what might have happened if he had been elected when he ran for Congress in 1962. Michener's new 1,096-page tome, "Texas," is the 18th book since that political defeat. He might have been a great congressman, but the world would have lost an important literary heritage . . .

All the national magazines are getting so excited about November's Washington visit of the Samsonite couple -- Prince Charles and Princess Diana.. In its October issue, Good Housekeeping magazine relates the list of events, especially a black-tie dinner at the National Gallery of Art, where it lists among the invitees Secretary of State Charles Shultz. Charles Shultz? The Secretary of State's name is George P. Shultz. Charles Schulz is the gentle, talented creator of the comic strip "Peanuts," who some might wish was secretary of state . . .

When sexy actress Angie Dickinson was seen eating an extra dessert at a dinner in Hollywood, she was asked by People magazine what her secret diet was and answered, "Oh, that's easy. Grapefruit juice and young men." Now if she ever writes a diet book . . .