To ensure that U.S. law and policy were consonant with the obligations that it would assume under the Convention, the United States entered certain reservations, understandings and declarations to the Convention at the time of ratification. These related, inter alia, to: (a) the Convention's prohibitions concerning advocacy and incitement, which to a certain extent are more restrictive than U.S. constitutional guarantees of free expression and association, (b) the Convention's requirements to restrict the activities of private persons and non-governmental entities, which in some instances lie beyond the reach of existing U.S. law, and (c) the express extension of the Convention's restrictions to all levels of political organization, which implicates the delicate relationship between the state and Federal governments in the U.S. political system. While these differences were primarily ones of approach rather than substance, each nonetheless required clarification in the context of U.S. ratification of the Convention.
In making these clarifications, the United States took particular note of Article 20, which precludes reservations which are "incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention" or "the effect of which would inhibit the operation of any of the bodies established by the Convention." The United States believes its reservations, understandings and declarations, which are an essential element of its consent to be bound by this instrument, are compatible with its object and purpose; they also do not inhibit the operation of any bodies established by the Convention. The United States fully supports the goals of the Convention. In any event, paragraph 2 of Article 20 provides an authoritative method of determining whether any reservation is incompatible or inhibitive in relation to this Convention; namely, formal objection thereto by at least two-thirds of the States Parties to the Convention. None of the conditions imposed upon U.S. ratification of this Convention have been objected to in that manner.