It was a genuine dilemma for John Mauceri Saturday night. The Kennedy Center's music director of orchestra and consultant for music theater was to be in New Haven to receive the first Yale University Alumni Award in the Arts along with legendary film director Elia Kazan and actress Julie Harris. That same night, however, was the gala salute to Kennedy Center Chairman Roger Stevens and Mauceri was needed to supervise the music. In the end, Mauceri's wife, Betty, went to New Haven to accept the honor for him . . .

The Soviets, who named a rare Siberian diamond for Samantha Smith, the teen-ager from Maine who died in a plane crash last month, memorialized her in a poem published in the Communist Party daily Pravda. The poem to the schoolgirl, who wrote to then-president Yuri Andropov about her concerns about nuclear war and who traveled to Moscow at his invitation, was titled "Little Star." Saying she could be compared with Dante's Beatrice or Shakespeare's Juliet, the poem added: "However, your dreams were not about amorous youth. You thought about the laws governing life, about the lawlessness of some developments in the world." There are also plans to name a street for Samantha in Yalta . . .

There is an unsavory quarrel going on in Hollywood over whether the late Rock Hudson knew his name was being used in the fight against AIDS, the disease that eventually killed him. Syndicated columnist Marilyn Beck reported Friday that Hudson was unaware of a statement read in his name at a star-studded AIDS benefit in Los Angeles last month. She also quoted friends and associates of the actor as saying Hudson was rarely lucid during the final weeks. Other friends and associates, however, are differing with those reports and are saying he was well aware of the statement made in his behalf and wanted the nature of his illness made public. Like so many Hollywood stories, where the truth, at best, is relative, this one may never be adequately resolved . . .