In 1944, the British Government founded the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies in Jerusalem. It was briefly in Jordan in 1947 before moving to Lebanon. Initially attendance had been limited to officers in the British Army and RAF but extended to diplomats, oilmen, bankers, academics and businessmen from over 20 different countries. MECAS, once handed over to the Diplomatic Service survived accusations of being a school of spies and that it was a breeding ground for Arabist mafia. By 1974, MECAS had been engulfed by the Lebanese civil war and the school closed down.