Lee Iacocca slipped quietly into Oakland County (Mich.) Circuit Court yesterday and was granted a divorce from his wife of one year, Peggy Johnson Iacocca. Asked by Judge Robert Templin why the marriage had failed, Iacocca said, "I guess geographic considerations and other factors made the relationship impossible" ...

Rockefeller's Gift to the Soviets

When Blanchette Rockefeller was in the medieval Soviet city of Novgorod a few years ago, she discovered that an artwork she had purchased from a London dealer in 1969 was part of an altar screen set of 25 icons that had been in Novgorod's Cathedral of St. Sophia for centuries. She also learned that hers was the only icon from the set that had left the country. She contacted the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the U.S. Information Agency for help in returning the icon so that the original 15th-century work could be restored.

And last night at the Soviet Embassy, Rockefeller, widow of John D. Rockefeller III, presented the icon -- bearing the twin images of "The Old Testament Trinity" and "The Virgin and Child" -- to Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin, who will return it to Novgorod. The presentation was made at an embassy dinner attended by Marvin Stone, deputy director of USIA; Richard Oldenburg, director of the Museum of Modern Art; Rockefeller's son Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV and his wife Sharon Percy Rockefeller; and her daughter Hope Aldrich and her husband Warren Kozak ...

Out and About

A South Korean woman has been prevented by her government from coming to Washington, where she and her husband were to have been honored today as recipients of the fourth Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Attempts by Secretary of State George Shultz, Sen. Edward Kennedy and the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea James Lilly to intercede with the South Korean government on behalf of the couple were unsuccessful. Kim Keun Tae, who has been imprisoned a number of times, was to be honored for exposing brutality and torture in the treatment of political prisoners there. His wife In Jae Keun, who also has taken up the cause, was to have received the award on behalf of both her and her husband because Kim is currently serving a five-year prison sentence. The South Korean government, however, has refused to issue her a passport. The awards ceremony at Georgetown University will go on as scheduled this morning, with Ethel Kennedy presenting a check for $30,000 to Choi Sung-Il, director of the Korean Institute for Human Rights, on behalf of the couple ...

Veteran political street fighter Robert Dole was so polite at the first Republican presidential debate in Houston that some of his supporters were wondering who to call "wimp." Yesterday, World Boxing Council middleweight champ Thomas (Hit Man) Hearns stopped by the Senate Republican leader's office, and Dole, quick with a quip, introduced Hearns as his new "debate coach," who would "help me develop a new strategy in Round 2 of the debates" at the Kennedy Center Dec. 1 ...

Richard M. Nixon, one of the most fascinating presidents in the nation's history, is the subject of the first national conference on the Nixon presidency, which began yesterday in Hempstead, N.Y. Some 150 scholars, politicians and journalists attending the gathering have posed the question: "Who was Richard Nixon anyway?" Elliot Richardson, who held three cabinet posts under Nixon, said there were "flaws of character" in the man who "had it within his grasp to become our greatest post-World War II president." Time magazine's Hugh Sidey said Nixon was an enigma who "didn't understand the oath of office he took, but understood the world" better than many other American leaders .