Congressional leaders pressed President John F. Kennedy to take military action against Cuba at the outset of the Cuban missile crisis, according to previously unreleased secret White House tape recordings.

"Khrushchev has once again rattled his missiles and we must react," Sen. Richard Russell told the president in a briefing recorded by microphones concealed in wall sconces in the Cabinet room.The tapes about the crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war were made available Wednesday morning by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

They cover meetings held Oct. 22, 1962, about a week after aerial reconnaissance photographs revealed the presence of a Soviet medium-range ballistic missile site under construction near San Cristobal in central Cuba.

Arguing against military action, Kennedy said that "the idea of a quick strike was very tempting," but an air attack alone could not destroy all the Soviet missiles.

"It looked like we would have all the difficulties of Pearl Harbor and not finish the job," Kennedy said. "The job could only be finished by invasion." He said an invasion may be needed, but Khrush-chev would surely respond, "maybe in Berlin or maybe here."

At one meeting, involving the National Security Council, Cabinet members and military officers can be heard asking why the government didn't act sooner. U.S. intelligence agencies had established that there were air-defense missiles in Cuba as early as August of that year.

Later, Russell, D-Ga., sparred with the president about how to respond to the crisis. The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee pushed for military action while Kennedy resisted calls for an airstrike.

More than 500 fighters planes already were massed in Florida by that time.

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On Oct. 26, the Soviets offered to remove offensive weapons in Cuba, and the crisis was defused.

Forty-eight seconds were cut from the recordings released Wednesday for national security reasons, according to the National Security Council. Much of the material already has been chronicled and notes and memoirs written by participants.

Three hours of Cuban missile crisis tapes were declassified in July.

An additional 10 hours of secret recordings from the crisis still are under review. They are part of 260 unreleased tape recordings held by the Kennedy Library.

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