Television talk show host Phil Donahue is a man of firm convictions, and yesterday afternoon he became involved in a fist fight with a pronuclear protester at New York's La Guardia Airport. Although the details are not clear, New York Port Authority police report that Donahue and his wife, actress Marlo Thomas, were walking through the airport terminal when the protester shouted, "Donahue and his wife ought to be murdered." According to port authority officer Mitchell Kaufman, Donahue responded, the two began shouting and the fight began.

"The fists were flying," Kaufman said, when several officers broke it up. An Associated Press reporter who happened to be at the airport said Donahue's face was bruised, and the other man, identified as William Ferguson, 24, reportedly a Lyndon LaRouche supporter, was taken away in handcuffs. Donahue and Ferguson agreed to settle their differences in the New York City Conflict Resolution Center instead of pressing charges against each other. Part of the criminal court, the center arbitrates minor disputes. Ironically, Donahue and Thomas were on their way to Boston, where Thomas was to receive the Helen M. Caldicott Leadership Award from Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament.

End Notes

Actress Candice Bergen and her husband, director Louis Malle, slipped into town Friday and checked into the Jefferson Hotel. The couple were looking for a quiet weekend to celebrate Bergen's 40th birthday Friday. They dined alone that evening in the Presidential Suite on two of Bergen's favorite foods, pasta and baked alaska. Society pianist Peter Duchin, who was in town for the CARE ball and also staying at the Jefferson, thought he would surprise his friends when he learned the couple was staying there. Dressed in tuxedo and posing as a room service waiter, Duchin delivered the hotel's complimentary birthday bottle of champagne to the suite . . .

Royal Watch: The ever-traveling royals, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, swept through Tokyo Saturday for an official four-day visit. They even went to watch the loincloth-clad, 300-pound sumo wrestlers, but the audience there ignored the tournaments to crowd around and photograph the royal couple . . .

Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead, the man who runs things when Secretary of State George Shultz is on the road, will receive the Harvard Business School Club's annual Business-Statesman award next month at Dumbarton Oaks. Previous winners of the award include former secretary of the Navy W. Graham Claytor Jr., president of the Motion Picture Association of America Jack Valenti, former governor W. Averell Harriman, former senator Charles Percy, former transportation secretary Drew Lewis, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, former ambassador Clare Boothe Luce and Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige Jr. . . .

ABC newswoman Barbara Walters and television executive Merv Adelson were married this weekend, but have delayed their honeymoon. The wedding at producer Leonard Goldberg's Beverly Hills home brought out a group of family and friends, among them actress Linda Gray of "Dallas" and producers Sidney Lumet and Lew Wasserman. It was the second marriage for Walters, 54, and the third for Adelson, 56 . . .

All that fuss late last week when superstar Elizabeth Taylor testified on Capitol Hill and was then invited by her former husband Sen. John Warner for a bit of lunch in his office . . . Just who would the Virginia senator call in to cater such an important affair for his glittery ex-wife and about 20 of his colleagues? Taylor and the senators, including Barry Goldwater, Paul Laxalt, Carl Levin, Ted Kennedy, Strom Thurmond, James Exon, Larry Pressler and Nancy Kassebaum, dined from the paper buckets of Col. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. . . .