Help Wanted: Black person (preferably male) to serve as U.S. ambassador to South Africa. Applicant should be U.S. citizen, above the age of 35, Republican preferred. He (if need be, she) must support administration policy toward South Africa, which is always evolving yet, cleverly, always remaining the same. Applicant must be opposed to punitive actions against the Pretoria region on the stated, but never proved, grounds that conditions there for blacks are improving. We are seeking someone special!

Person applying must not have either criminal record or business association with corrupt foreign political figures. Applicant should also not be accused of antiunion activities in the South or of having fronted for whites in applications for Small Business Administration loans.

Applicant should be familiar with administration policy. Simply stated, it is that certain precious minerals -- diamonds, platinum -- take precedence over human rights. If applicant is unfamiliar with such thinking, he should consult the recent remarks of Donald Regan, chief of staff to the president of the United States, who said as much in a recent background briefing for the press.

Applicant should also be familiar with the statements of the above-mentioned president, who, while always articulating his repugnance toward South Africa's racial policies, has nevertheless praised the regime there for its "progress," and in December 1984 said he had to disagree with Bishop Desmond Tutu "that the situation has worsened." Another time in an interview with Walter Cronkite in 1981, the president called South Africa a World War II ally and asked if we could "abandon a country that has stood beside us in every war we've ever fought, a country that is essential to the free world in its production of minerals we all must have and so forth."

Applicant should disregard the end of that statement -- the "and so forth" -- and the beginning, because much of the pro-apartheid leadership was pro-Nazi, and concentrate on the middle. Applicant should note that the president thinks that abandoning the country and abandoning the white regime amount to the same thing -- even though South Africa is overwhelmingly black. Applicant should also be aware that there is not the slightest reason to believe that a black-majority government would refuse to sell precious minerals to the West since that is precisely what Angola does -- and it has a communist government.

Applicant should understand that he or she would be enunciating a policy that is vociferously opposed by most of black Africa, not to mention the blacks in the United States. Although -- as mentioned before -- he or she should be free of charges that he (or she) ever fronted for whites in a loan application, that is precisely the background the government is looking for. Applicant should also disregard administration statements about affirmative action. In other words, we are seeking a professional.

Applicant should further understand that the question of sanctions is no longer one of pure economics. He should appreciate that the blacks of South Africa seek a moral statement from the United States -- one that applicant as ambassador should be unwilling to provide. Applicant should, instead, articulate fears that South Africa will turn communist, that blacks may be incapable of self-government and -- most important for the moment -- that blacks share responsibility with the government for the unrest and violence.

The person applying should always reject a one-sided assessment of the situation: "I think to put it that way -- that they were simply killed and that the violence was coming simply from the law-and-order side -- ignores the fact that there was rioting going on in behalf of others there." (The president, March 25, 1985.) Applicant should understand that this is the definitive statement on the issue. Finally, applicant should be capable of looking Bishop Tutu in the eye without blinking. In the interest of national security, applicant's heart should be closed to sentiment.

Please address applications to Mr. Donald Regan, the White House. Salary nonnegotiable, but benefits include health care, a residence, (bullet-proof) car, huge staff and a lawn statue of red-coated houseboy holding a lantern. The U.S. government is an equal opportunity employer.