When Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and their teams went into overtime to thrash out a tentative INF pact at the State Department Thursday, it looked very good for peace but very bad for their stomachs.

U.S. protocol officers had been advised earlier not to worry about feeding the 50 or so negotiators, since the sessions were scheduled to be over by lunch time. That things weren't going as scheduled became apparent when "suddenly there were a lot of hungry-looking people," said Catherine (Bunny) Murdock, assistant chief of protocol.

Ruling out a caterer or a local carryout because time was of the essence, Murdock headed for the State Department cafeteria, where, pleading "It's for peace, it's for peace," she cut in on the sandwich line.

"We took anything that wasn't alive," Murdock said.

She also drafted State Department desk and security officers as runners to deliver the sandwiches to the eighth-floor Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

At the checkout stand she paid cash from Protocol's piggy bank. Even if you're ordering for George Shultz and Eduard Shevardnadze, you don't ask for credit in State's cafeteria. It's one of our capitalistic peculiarities: a privately run concession.

The 20-member Peace Links delegation, led by several congressional wives, had already invited Raisa Gorbachev to meet with the group in Moscow next month. Now, with a U.S.-Soviet summit in the works for November, Mrs. Gorbachev is almost certain to be invited to a Washington event put on by Peace Links and other peace activist groups as well.

"I'm sure all of us peace nurturers will want to do something," said Betty Bumpers, a founder of the six-year-old grass-roots effort to lessen the threat of nuclear war.

Bumpers said a Soviet official told her this summer that Peace Links' chances to meet with Mrs. Gorbachev next month in Moscow were better than usual, in part because of the group's connections with Congress.

Bumpers' husband, Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.), is a vice chairman of the House-Senate Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus, whose members include the husbands of two other Peace Links delegates -- Elisabeth Leach (Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa) and Barbara Levin (Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.). In addition, Nina Solarz (Rep. Stephen Solarz, D-N.Y.), Paula Swift (Rep. Alan Swift, D-Wash.) and Carol Williams (Rep. Pat Williams, D-Mont.) will be making the trip.

The Oct. 10-24 visit to the U.S.S.R. is patterned after one the Soviet Women's Committee made to the United States two years ago. Bumpers said response to the trip was so strong that an adjunct trip was organized under the sponsorship of the Citizens Exchange Council. There will be 40 women in the auxiliary group.

From Moscow, the Peace Links delegation will divide into four smaller groups for grass-roots visits with Soviet women in four Soviet republics. When they return to Moscow for a windup plenary session, they hope Mrs. Gorbachev will join them.

Betty Bumpers first met Raisa Gorbachev in Moscow last winter at a Soviet Culture Committee event where Armand Hammer presented the Soviet first lady with a long-lost Russian painting. As it turned out, there were more where that came from; Hammer gave her a list of 28 other Russian paintings that he said he'll give to the Soviet Union upon his death.

"She was a real charmer," Bumpers said of Mrs. Gorbachev. "She was also very well briefed because as she read over the list, she had comments to make about either the subject matter or the painter of five or six paintings."

Bumpers said Mrs. Gorbachev formed the Culture Committee as a means of buying or getting back art treasures taken out of the country during the Russian Revolution and World War II.

Nancy Reagan came home from New York yesterday with some postage stamps that don't just say no to drugs. They also say, "Oui a` la vie -- Non aux drogues" and "Ja zu Leben -- Nein zu Drogen!"

Recently issued by the United Nations, the stamps were presented to the first lady by Marcela de Cuellar, wife of U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, when the two women got together after Reagan's speech to the General Assembly.

President Reagan's gift to Pope John Paul II was a Williamsburg mahogany box with an inlaid silver lid engraved with a map of the United States. Cabochon sapphires marked each of the cities the pontiff visited. The pope's gift was a Bible inscribed "To the Honorable Ronald Reagan, president of the United States of America, invoking upon him the strength and peace that comes from the word of God."

"Gentlemen," begins the spidery handwriting, "Herewith is a little draft to pay for your Daily another year from today -- I suppose I shall take the Press & Tribune so long as it, and I both live, unless I become unable to pay for it -- In its devotion to our cause always, and to me personally last year I owe it a debt of gratitude, which I fear I shall never be able to pay."

The punctuation may be a little questionable but there's no question whatsoever that A. Lincoln, as he signed the June 15, 1859, letter written in Springfield, Ill., was a dedicated reader. Appropriately, he later would be assisted in his quest for the presidency by the Press & Tribune and one of its founders, Joseph Medill, who also set up the paper's Washington bureau.

The newspaper is known around the world today as the Chicago Tribune, and its Washington bureau has reproduced the letter on the cover of its invitation to an Oct. 6 party celebrating its 140th year.

Cohosts with Nicholas Horrock, Washington editor, will be James D. Squires, editor, and Charles T. Brumback, president.