Former White House deputy chief of staff Michael K. Deaver last month asked departing presidential counsel Fred F. Fielding to consider joining his lobbying firm at the same time Fielding's staff was considering whether Deaver had violated conflict-of-interest laws.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Fielding told Deaver he wasn't interested in a job and that Fielding then recused himself from any consideration of matters involving Deaver.

The newspaper said Fielding's staff, at the request of the Office of Government Ethics, was reviewing Deaver's actions on the acid rain issue. The Washington Post reported last fall that Deaver, while still in the White House, had recommended the creation of a joint task force with Canada to discuss acid rain, then soon after he left the White House accepted a contract from the Canadian government to lobby on the issue. The General Accounting Office is investigating whether Deaver acted properly in this matter.

Fielding told the Journal the March 7 contact with Deaver was "at most an exploratory meeting" and "I recused myself, quite frankly, out of an abundance of caution. It was well known that I was leaving the White House, and I wanted to mitigate any potential appearance of insensitivity on Deaver's part."

Fielding has now left the White House and is pondering several offers from law firms. Marcos Stuck in Hawaii?

The State Department has abandoned active efforts to find a home in another country for deposed Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda.

When Marcos left the Philippines he gave the Reagan administration a list of four places where he might like to hang his hat -- Singapore, Spain, Panama and Mexico -- but their governments turned down discreet approaches on Marcos' behalf.

A message from the government of President Corazon Aquino, saying that it would be "an unfriendly act" to accept Marcos, was a factor in the decision by Panama, which came closest to taking Marcos. A Reprieve -- Temporarily. . .

Col. James A. Burton won a reprieve yesterday. The Pentagon had ordered him to retire or agree by 4 p.m. to move to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, but a storm of congressional protest prompted a retreat.

Burton has irritated some in the military by insisting on realistic tests of the Army's controversial Bradley troop carrier.

When word of his transfer orders leaked out, Bradley opponents smelled a conspiracy; Bradley supporters smelled a dumb political move that would only help Bradley opponents. A dozen influential members of Congress appealed to Deputy Defense Secretary William H. Taft IV to keep Burton in town.

"They may not have realized they were wading into such a hornet's nest," said one congressional aide.

Stay tuned; so far, the orders have only been delayed.