Gordon Brown last night comprehensively dismissed any doubt that he was cooling on Britain's "special relationship" with America by declaring he was an avowed Atlanticist who wanted to strengthen further the UK's bond with its primary ally.

As he flew to Washington for his first face-to-face talks with the US President as Prime Minister, he spoke glowingly of the tenets underpinning the American Declaration of Independence and even invoked the spirit of Winston Churchill, a personal hero of George W Bush.

Mr Brown told reporters about a "joint inheritance" between the two nations, declaring this consisted "not just of shared history but shared values founded on a shared destiny".

He added: "I mean the idea that everyone is created equal, that there should be freedom of expression for all faiths, that arts and culture should celebrate diversity, that government should be open and accountable, that there should be opportunity for all and a belief in free trade.

"These are the ideas that bind and give us strength to work together, to face down every challenge ahead - from the danger of nuclear proliferation, global poverty, climate change, to today, the biggest single and immediate challenge the world has to defeat: global terrorism."

His spokesman also dismissed reports that Mr Brown would unveil a plan for early withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, insisting that he would not.

A few days into the new premiership, as it sought to put a distance between itself and the Blair years, doubts were raised that the new Prime Minister was seeking to loosen the UK's ties with the US.

Lord Malloch Brown, the Foreign Office Minister, created waves - not least inside government - when he insisted the two allies would no longer be "joined at the hip" on foreign policy.

Last night, en route to Camp David, Mr Brown, in seeking to dismiss such an approach, stressed: "I have always been an Atlanticist and a great admirer of the American spirit of enterprise and national purpose and commitment to opportunity for all.

"I have visited America many times and have many friends there. And as Prime Minister I want to do more to strengthen even further our relationship with the US. It is firmly in the British national interest that we have a strong relationship with the US, our single most important bilateral relationship."

Mr Brown quoted Winston Churchill, the first British Prime Minister to visit Camp David, the President's mountain retreat in Maryland. "Winston Churchill spoke of what he called the joint inheritance of our two countries, but he did not mean just our shared historical experiences but a belief in what he called the great principles of freedom and the rights of man.

"It was this joint inheritance of values that started with the idea of British liberty and then found its most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.

"In the 21st century, we face very different challenges and it is because of the very nature of the challenges that a partnership founded on values matters more than ever."

He praised the resilience and bravery of the American people in the wake of 9/11, declaring: "While buildings can be destroyed, values are indestructible."

He added: "We should acknowledge the debt the world owes to the United States for its leadership in this fight against international terrorism."

After landing in the US capital, Mr Brown was due to have a private one-to-one dinner with the President at his mountain retreat. More wide-ranging talks are due this morning and are expected to include David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and Condoleezza Rice, his US counterpart. Issues will be trying to reinvigorate the stalled world trade talks and halting the bloodshed in Darfur as well as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, climate change and a range of bilateral issues, including the US missile defence system.

Later today, the PM is expected to travel to Washington for a joint press conference with Mr Bush and cross-party talks with Senate leaders and members of Congress. Tomorrow, he will travel to the United Nations in New York, where he will give a speech on international affairs.

The Prime Minister also has been invited to give next year's Distinguished Foreign Visitor lecture to the JF Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston.