An unusual international controversy developed in mid-May that eventually spilled over into Flushing Meadows. The U.S. Navy contracted with Argentina to purchase twenty-one tons of canned beef. When asked at his weekly press conference why the American armed services would prefer Argentinean beef over that raised in the United States? President Roosevelt replied sources at the agricultural department insisted those two staples of the American diet, hot dogs and hamburgers, used up much of the U.S. beef output. In contrast, Argentineans canned most of their beef.
Investigators found a more complicated story, however. The Argentine Cooperatives, Inc. initially bid sixteen-cents a pound to supply the navy with beef while the nearest U.S. company bid started at twenty-three cents. The imported beef would not fall under the six-cents per pound tariff as it was a naval purchase. However, not wishing to violate the "Buy American" law, naval officials consulted with the State Department.