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Show Directory command strangeness

Does anyone know how the "show directory" command determines whether to
use the "LIST" or "NLST" commands on a particular machine.  If I do a
show directory on arisia.xerox.com:/pcl/, I the "LIST" command is used.
On the other hand if I do a show directory on ncs.dnd.ca:/pub/, the
"NLST" command is used (tcp:*tcp-ftp-debug-flag* is t to show the
command used).  In both cases the target machines are running unix and
the addresses are resolved using the internet domain service.
I would love to be able to specify which command to use, but the "show
directory" command does not have any keyword arguments which would
appear to allow that.