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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.

Officials in Cordell Hull's domain determined the navy could not purchase fresh beef, citing an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the Argentine grazing land. However, the department did authorize the purchase of canned beef. The brouhaha ensued.

On May 17, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 9 to 7 rejecting a motion to allow the navy to purchase foreign food, thus settling the issue in Washington.

However, officials at the Argentina Pavilion couldn't help add salt to the nation's canned beef wounds. From 1:00 to 7:00 in the afternoon of July 7, samples of the controversial beef on strips of toast were distributed to pavilion patrons. Later that evening, Herminio Gininez, a popular Buenos Aires orchestra leader led a trio of wandering musicians through Argentina’s restaurant featuring the controversial beef as an entrée.