Approval of Purchase of Low-Bid Canned Argentine Beef.
My dear Mr. Secretary:
Your letter of April 5, 1939, expresses keen interest in an award under consideration by the Navy Department for the supply of 48,000 pounds of canned corned beef, involving bids on Argentine beef in competition with domestic beef. You urge that the award be made to the low bidder on the Argentine corned beef.
I am impressed with the fact that the price quoted by the Argentine Meat Producers' Cooperative is $.157 per pound against the lowest bid on an American product of $.2361. After payment of the duty of $.06 per pound on Argentine canned corned beef, the net cost to the Government would be about $.097 per pound.
It is also of moment that at the present time there is a decided difference in the quality of the Argentine product and that packed by American packers. An examination made of samples of domestic and Argentine corned beef shows that the Argentine product is of greatly superior quality and it is the Navy Department's policy to procure for the enlisted men a high quality of food when it can be obtained at a reasonable cost on a competitive basis.
Sympathetic as I am with the spirit of the Buy-American Act, these facts compel me to direct the Secretary of the Navy to award the contract for this canned corned beef to the Argentine Meat Producers' Cooperative, the low bidder. Under the circumstances, I feel that by so doing the intent of the Buy-American Act has not been violated.
Very sincerely yours,
The Secretary of State
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Approval of Purchase of Low-Bid Canned Argentine Beef. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/209505