In the aftermath of the First World War, two schools of divergent thought emerged among Whitehall's Middle East policy-makers. One, propounded by T. E. Lawrence, found support in the Foreign Office, where many favoured Arab national ideals and backed the Hashemite family for rulership positions in the region. The other, epitomized by Arnold Wilson, the civil commissioner for Iraq, was thought to ... [Show full abstract] reflect the India Office view that direct British rule in Iraq was essential and that Hashemite pretensions should be opposed. In this article, the author shows that the lines separating the India and Foreign Offices were not so clearly drawn. Many senior officials in the India Office were disturbed by Wilson's imperial programme for Iraq and some were prepared to support Hashemite aspirations. But Lawrence's 1920 campaign for Hashemite rule and his hyperbolic press attacks on Wilson's policies had the paradoxical effect of moving the India Office to defend Wilson and to revert to their anti-Hashemite stance. The article concludes with an analysis of the reasons behind the triumph of the Lawrentian over the Wilsonian schools at the end of 1920, when Wilson was removed from Iraq and Middle East policy-making was consolidated in the Colonial Office.